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So, I am trying to work out the difference in usage between 综合, 结合 and 组合. I have written out my current understanding of them based on internet searches. If anyone feels I got it wrong, it'd be great to hear from you.

综合 means to synthesise (in the sense of combine) and appears to be used when you are trying to get diverse objects to work harmoniously with each other, e.g. data, characteristics, good design/principles/patterns.

结合 means to combine/link, but seems to be used in much the same way as 综合, e.g. with text/graphics/data, integrating style/graphics. The only difference I can see is that maybe 综合 means to bring things together and in doing so, create something new, whereas 结合 might be more like combining something new into something which already exists??

组合 means to combine but not in an integrated way - they are just in the same place, e.g. Gordon's surname is Flint-Johnson, which is a combination of his father's and mother's surnames; this combination of flowers is very pretty; if people regularly combine a particular verb and noun, this is known as a collocation.

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综合 can be adjective or verb

结合 is a verb

组合 can be verb or noun,

It is hard to compare the three when they are different types, therefore, we only look at them as verbs here.

  • 综合 (+ objects) = to collect objects from different areas or categories into one unit. E.g. 综合各人的意見 = Sum up everyone's opinion

  • 结合 (+ objects) = to combine/ merge individual objects into one unit. E.g. 结合两人的力量 = Combine the two people's power

  • 组合 (+ objects) = to assemble parts into one unit. E.g. 棺材是用四塊半木版组合而成的,所以棺材又俗稱 '四塊半' = Coffin is assembled with four and a half wooden plates, so coffin is also commonly called 'four and a half'

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  • Thanks Tang - sorry, this one slipped through the net!!
    – Hashamyim
    Mar 30 '20 at 11:19

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