COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English)

COCA, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, is a resource created by Professor Mark Davies at Brigham Young University.  It is the corpus from which the Word and Phrase resource, also explored here on our DukeWrites site, was derived. The COCA resource gives you access to a bigger database and allows you to do more advanced searches than you could conduct on Word and Phrase.

You can explore COCA to develop a better understanding of the language usage of published writers, which can assist you in improving your writing. Take a guided tour of the site with creator Mark Davies here. And visit the COCA site here.

The first tutorial gives you an introductory tour of COCA and shows you how to register (for free).

In the second tutorial, you’ll learn how to do a basic search as well as how to narrow your results to the sources that most interest you.

In the third tutorial, you’ll see how to do three more searches, all with the goal of improving language usage by finding appropriate collocates (words that work well together).

In our fourth tutorial, you’ll learn how to do more advanced COCA searches.

In our fifth tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the Word search option that was added to COCA in spring 2020.


DukeWritesSuite COCA Introduction and registration
DukeWritesSuite COCA Doing a basic search and narrowing results
DukeWritesSuite COCA Exploring collocations
DukeWritesSuite COCA Doing advanced searches
DukeWritesSuite COCA Using the Word search option

                Screencast tutorials developed by Rene D.Caputo
Brought to you by the Duke University Thompson Writing Program