Nonreversible Word Pairs

Specific words go together like bread and waterBread and water is an instance of a word pair that is used in that order. We don’t say water and bread. This kind of word pair is called nonreversible. In various ways, they are like collocations — words that normally go together. Pupils can use this list with samples to learn the most common nonreversible word pairs. Educators can use this resource in class to help pupils learn these set phrases. Once you are comfortable with these phrases, keep learning set phrases and collocations. Teachers can explore using set phrases in instruction methods with the lexical approach.

Examples of Nonreversible Word Pairs

Adam and Eve

Bacon and Eggs

Back and Forth

Bread and Water

Bride and Groom

Business and Pleasure

Cause and Effect

Cream and Sugar

Crime and Punishment

Cup and Saucer

Dead or Alive

Fish and Chips

Fun and Games

Hammer and Nail

Husband and Wife

In and Out

Knife and Fork

Ladies and Gentlemen

Law and Order

Life or Death

Lock and Key

Lost and Found

Name and Address

Pen and Pencil

Pots and Pans

Profit and Loss

Rain or Shine

Read and Write

Right and / or Wrong

Rise and Fall

Salt and Pepper

Shirt and Tie

Shoes and Socks

Soap and Water

Sooner or Later

Suit and Tie

Supply and Demand

Sweet and Sour

Trial and Error

Up and/or Down

War and Peace

Wine and Cheese

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