Clicking on “Expand”: One reason we call StringNet a net is that each pattern a word appears in is indexed to other related patterns, and these relations can be navigated and explored. From any pattern listed in a search result, one direction you can go is horizontally by clicking on “expand”. This shows patterns that are identical to the one you are looking at but one unit longer.
For example, a search of the word time yields the string from time to time as the first pattern in the search results. From this pattern, I could be curious how such an expression may be introduced, that is, what word(s) might precede this expression. I can get that by clicking “expand”. That lists patterns containing from time to time that are one unit longer. Specifically, among others it generates a list with:
[noun] from time to time
[verb] from time to time
By clicking on the [verb] slot in [verb] from time to time I get a pop-up list of the verbs in BNC that introduce from time to time. Specifically: vary/occur/used/…change/appear…from time to time.
Clicking “Parents”: By the way, clicking on “parents” rather than “expand” from the same pattern sends you upward (more abstract) rather than outward: So from the same pattern from time to time, clicking on “parents” a few times I work my way up to the more general pattern from [noun] to [noun]. Then, coming back down by clicking on “children” I get lots of specific sub-patterns of this proto-pattern. I get things like from year to year, from side to side, from head to toe/foot/tail, from left to right, and others.