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One of the difficulties a second language learner frequently experiences in writing is the choice of words to achieve native-like proficiency. This investigation reports a study of Chinese EFL learners’ use of lexical collocations. The objective was to examine the problems of the students’ use of lexical collocations, the results of which aim to help the researchers to decide how to utilize Corpus of lexical Contemporary American English (COCA) to raise their collocation awareness in a subsequent study. Two writing tasks were administered to 50 Non-English Majors (NEMs) in Kaili University (KU), resulting in a corpus of 100 essays. Lexical collocation errors in the texts were identified by using COCA as a reference corpus. The findings showed that the most frequent collocation errors were collocations with verbs as nodes and the second most frequent ones were collocations with adjectives as nodes. Misuses of quantifiers were also found in the corpus. Some suggestions were made by the researchers aiming at improving writing instruction through collocation awareness raising.
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