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TIP #7 - This tip was sent on the week: 12th - 18th Sep, 2004

These tips apply to the following programs:

  • ESI Professional
  • ESI Standard

Idiomatic Expressions


Word Magic Software’s ESI contains over 225,000 idiomatic expressions, or, ‘word clusters’. This list of word clusters is made up of Phrasal Verbs, Proverbs, Interjections and several other options. Below is a list of each type of word cluster available with attached examples:

  • Phrasal Verbs: (go away, throw away, fly past, take out)
  • Prepositional Verbs: (to account for, to go after)
  • Verbal Phrases: (fall asleep, take a break)
  • Idiomatic Verbal Phrases: (beat around the bush, walk on eggs)
  • Adverbial Phrases: (on a yearly basis, if need be, if worst comes to worst)
  • Locutions: (by the sweat of one’s brow)
  • Prepositional Phrases: (contrary to, in order to)
  • Noun Phrases: (Better Business Bureau, control panel)
  • Adjectival Phrases: (clear-headed, dull as dishwater)
  • Interjections: (and that’s final, all aboard, good morning)
  • Proverbs: (actions speak louder than words, all cats are alike in the dark)
  • Made Phrases: (all rights reserved, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth)

We like to think of word clusters as grammatical molecules. Separate words have individual meanings. When linked together in a cluster such as a Phrasal Verb or some other idiomatic expression, that word may take on a different meaning. When considering conventional grammar, word clusters are similar to molecules and atoms in that they follow a special set of rules. Having discovered these rules, Word Magic Software has created new rules which allow for greater translation quality.


Take a look at how the ESI Interactive handles word clusters by typing in the sentence


“The system controls.”


You will notice that ‘system controls’ is selected as a noun. If you highlight either ‘system’ or ‘controls’ you will see that they have been linked and underlined together. This is a word cluster.


Now, suppose you meant “The system is controlling.” Notice next to the linked chain reading ‘control board’ there is a group of broken linked chains available to you. Select the broken link directly to the right of the connected link and then highlight the word ‘controls’. As you can see, the link between the two words has now been broken, allowing you to now select ‘controls’ as a verb. Once you have selected this option, you will see your sentence now reads “El sistema controla.”


That concludes this week’s tip. Thank you for taking the time to review this tip. We hope to continue to offer you helpful hints and tips in the weeks and months to come.

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