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A set phrase or fixed phrase is a phrase whose parts are fixed in a certain order, even if the phrase could be changed without harming the literal meaning. This is because a set phrase is a culturally accepted phrase. A set phrase does not necessarily have any literal meaning in and of itself. Set phrases may function as idioms (e.g. red herring) or as words with a unique referent (e.g. Red Sea).<ref name=McArthur>McArthur, Tom. (1992) The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.</ref> There is no clear dividing line between a commonly used phrase and a set phrase. It is also not easy to draw a clear distinction between set phrases and compound words.<ref name=McArthur/>

In theoretical linguistics, two-word set phrases are said to arise during the generative formation of English nouns.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

A certain stricter notion of set phrases, more in line with the concept of a lexical item, provides an important underpinning for the formulation of Meaning-Text Theory.


Set phrase sections
Intro  Examples of set phrases  See also  References  

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