Investigating and teaching collocations. The starting point of the paper is the observation that foreign language learners translate collocations literally from their L1. Collocations are conceived here as phrasal units which can be placed between free word groups and idioms. The paper focuses on metaphoric collocations, i.e. with polysemic collocator. In this type of collocation the collocator is used in a metaphoric meaning, while it appears in denotative meaning in free word groups. Contrasting types of collocation are presented in a model. Data from empirical research show that foreign language learners of a certain level regard metaphoric collocations as marked and transfer them less often than non-metaphoric collocations. The paper supports the need for pointing out the significance of collocations even for beginners.