Collocational patterns are essential in producing fl uent, idiomatic discourse. Native speakers are familiar with certain ways to combine words that mark “naturalness” in their mother tongues. For instance, in English the typical bachelor is said to be confi rmed , stubborn, hardened, hopeless, inveterate or incorrigible , but not * unregenerated or * bullheaded , while a drunker could be deemed to be inveterate or incorrigible , and to a lesser extent, confi rmed , but not * stubborn , * hardened , * unregenerated , etc. By contrast, in Spanish empedernido (‘to a high degree’) could be used to intensify borracho (‘drunker’), romántico (‘romantic’), fumador (‘smoker’) and soltero (‘bachelor’). A Spanish-speaking learner of English could wrongly say * hardened drunker , * hardened romantic and yet be understood to mean ‘very (much), ‘to a high degree’, although the actual word combination would strike as unnatural, as opposed to inveterate drunker and hopeless romantic .