Jim Stroud from EnglishCafe.com wrote an interesting document about using Google as an aid to language learning. Many of his tips involve using Google’s vast text index to compare a search to what Google has on hand, for example:
3. Is there a word missing?
By using an asterix in a sentence, Google will assume that a word is missing and search for phrases that it thinks fills in that blank. For example…
By searching, How are you * today?
Google returns search results that includes:
* “How are you doing today?”
* “How are you feeling today?”
* “How are you guys today?”
* “How are you coping today?”
Click here to see for yourself and pay attention to the phrases that are bolded.
I really like his ideas, as they help language learners (learning English or anything else) to compare what they think is right, to what is right. If you run a search on what you think is right and get 5 results, it’s probably wrong. If you get 150,000 results, you’re probably onto something.