3

Is this a collocation or an idiom? I found different answers online.

To the best of my knowledge

If we change one of the words, would it be considered incorrect collocation. For example: "Answer this ON the best of YOUR knowledge."

5

Some collocations give you a bit of wiggle-room. This is one such, and you can say any phrase similar to the following:

  • to the best of my knowledge
  • to the best of your knowledge
  • to the best of his knowledge
  • to the best of her knowledge

You can't change the first few words of this collocation. All of the following sound strange:

  • *on the best of my knowledge
  • *to a best of my knowledge
  • *to the worst of my knowledge

However, there are related collocations which differ in only the final word:

  • to the best of my ability
  • to the best of my recollection

Note that phrase and collocation are overlapping categories, so it doesn't make sense to ask whether something fits in one category or the other. Your example fits into both categories.


In this post, I used the symbol * to mark phrases I find unacceptable.

  • Thanks! What about if the preposition is changed? Instead of "to", the speaker uses "ON" (On the best of your knowledge) Is this now an incorrect collocation? – khaleesi May 16 '13 at 18:39
  • 1
    @sarah I updated my answer to address your comment. – snailcar May 16 '13 at 18:43

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