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se16teddy:
English verbs of motion feel almost naked without a little adverb such as up, down, through, over or away, at least in conversational English. The prepositional phrase adds additional information. Because “away” and “from” have similar ideas, “away from” is a common collocation.

Source


I think that “away from” is a common collocation not because “away” and “from” have similar ideas but because it is used frequently.
I'd like to know if the bold part is wrong.

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    Would you be able to describe in any more detail what you find puzzling about the statement? We can restate the point in other words, but unless we know exactly what's confusing about the original, it will be difficult to improve it.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 20:03
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    Please clarify: are you asking why 'away' and 'from' are called similar ideas by that anonymous WordReference.com forum poster? Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 20:03
  • I've corrected it. Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 21:13
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    Are you asking for the historical reason why we use those two words together?
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 2:12
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    common collocation just means commonly found together.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 15:59

3 Answers 3

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The expression "away from" is a common collocation because because it is used frequently. But it is used frequently because the two words express related ideas, and function well together. When something moves, it is often said to move away. But then it is normal to specify the starting point, that the thing moves away from.

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In that context, the words in bold are a poor answer to the original question in the source, which is about the use of "away" in the sentence fragment:

ran away from the lion

The correct answer is that "run away" is an intransitive phrasal verb that roughly means "flee", and with that verb, we use "from" to indicate the thing they're fleeing. "Away from" isn't a constituent phrase at all.

There are other contexts where "away from" is arguably a multi-word preposition and it would be bad grammar to remove "away":

He enjoys living away from the noise of the big city.

But this is not the case in the source you quoted in the question.

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You think the author is saying those are found "on their own": they are not.

But they are often found together in particular contexts:

*I told you to stay away from him. He is not a nice person.

  • We were away from home for two weeks.

Collocation just means occurring together. Collocation is very important in writing and translating.

Let me make this simple: You would not expect to find swear words in a mathematical paper. Those two do not collocate i.e., they are not likely to share a location, which is what collocate actually means.

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