Regarding the terminology, different researchers use the same term to describe different phenomena, whereas others coin different terms to refer to the same word combination. For instance, in the classical study of Nattinger and DeCarrio (1992), the authors distinguish between two categories of prefabricated sequences: lexical phrases and collocations. Collocations are defi ned as “strings of specifi c lexical items” (such as rancid butter ), without a specifi c pragmatic function, “that co-occur with a mutual expectancy greater than chance” (Nattinger and DeCarrio

1992: 36). Lexical phrases, meanwhile, are collocations with assigned pragmatic functions, such as how do you do? They can either be strings of specifi c lexical units with no paradigmatic or syntagmatic variation ( what on earth , for instance), or generalized frames containing strings of category symbols, such as N (noun), VP (verbal phrase), PP (prepositional phrase) and specifi c lexical items (Nattinger and DeCarrio 1992: 37).