Pairs of nouns - статья на английском языке
There are a number of pairs of nouns in English which always occur together, and have a fixed order. It is not easy to explain why one noun always comes first and not the other. Long usage has established the order, which we must not change. Here is a list of some of the most frequent pairs.
Alpha and Omega — the beginning and the end, the first and last; God; babes and sucklings — innocent children; bag and baggage — (with) all one's luggage; beer and skittles — fun and pleasure; cloak and dagger — like a spy; flesh and blood — one's family or relations; hammer and tongs (with) — all one's strength; hand and foot (of binding) — hands together and feet together; heart and soul (with) — all one's feeling and spirit; life and soul — liveliest person; for love or money (in a negative sentence) — for anything; man and beast — men and animals; man and boy — from boyhood; might and main — strength; part and parcel — a part; pins and needles — the sensation in arm or leg after the blood supply has been cut off for a short time and feeling is returning; powder and shot — (for an old-fashioned gun); rack and ruin — decay; without rhyme or reason — for no understandable reason; skin and bone — very thin; stuff and nonsense — nonsense; time and tides — the flow of natural events. There are several nouns which are idiomatically used when describing collections of certain things: a broad of chickens; a covey of partridges; a chain of mountains; a cluster of stars; a group of islands.
(From "English Idioms And How to Use Them" by Seidl/Mc Mordie)