February 5, 2020

Comprehensive Understanding of English Collocations for Students

English Collocations

Students of all academic levels need to be fully aware of the importance of using collocations for communicating ideas more effectively. Collocation is a set of two or more words that go together and sound perfect to the native English speakers. There are other combinations that may be grammatically right and conveys the exact meaning but doesn’t quite seem right

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For example, This is a strong tea.

Strong” and “tea” is the collocation here. But what if you replace the word “strong” with a similar meaning word like “tough”? Would “tough coffee” make any sense? No right? That’s why you should know the correct combination of words that not only make sense but also sound correct.

Check out these examples to understand better:

Sounds Natural Sounds Unnatural
Heavy rain Strong rain
Fast food Quick food
A quick shower A fast shower
Get married to someone Get married with someone

Using a standard collocation will make your English sound a lot more natural, and the natives can understand it easily without frowning upon you. It is widely used in all types of English to express an idea, emotions, or actions.

Types of Collocations

There are numerous types of word combinations that create collocations. There are verb collocation, verb + adverb collocations, and adverb + adjective, and adjective + noun collocations.

Read on to know more:

1. Verb Collocations:

Collocations that you extensively use which tend to involve verb + noun formation. The verb precisely has a different meaning, but when it is combined with the other words, it evolves to give different a result. Some examples are listed below for your better understanding:

  • To come prepared

You have a test tomorrow, so make sure that you all come prepared for it.

  • To save time

You will save a lot of time if you make a draft before working on an essay type answer.

  • To find a replacement

The coach needs to find a substitute for the captain before the major tournament.

2. Adjective Collocations:

You can form numerous collocations by adding correct adjectives with nouns and adverbs. Read the examples to understand how it can make different collocations using an adjective.

  • Heavy: Heavy snowfall, heavy blow, heavy rain, heave loss
  • Strong: Strong case, strong opinion, strong tea, strong wind
  • Deep: Deep inside, deep breathing, deep thought, deep sea

3. Noun Collocations:

You can use a verb also a noun to make a meaningful collocation. Most common examples of the same are:

  • Blurred vision
  • Water flows
  • Critical analysis

4. Business Collocations

Collocations play a vital role in describing various types of business and work situations. You can form numerous collocations using nouns, adverbs, verbs, and adjectives. Combine it with a keyword and create meaningful business expressions which are commonly used in all work settings. A few notable business collocations are:

  • Cash flow
  • Annual turnover
  • Open an account
  • Land a deal
  • Close a deal
  • Deposit a check
  • Go bankrupt

5. Common Collocations:

We, at times, tend to use short expressions to describe a current situation. For such cases, you can use collocations in the form of an adjective and a verb. Here are some examples of common collocations:

  • Positively encourage someone to do something
  • Deeply regret the loss of something/someone
  • To be in an utter fury

You can use Adverb intensifiers to emphasize the verbs when used in formal speaking and writing. Be careful of intensifiers as they make a strong impression. Some of the most common intensifiers are:

  • Categorically
  • Fully
  • Deeply
  • Sincerely
  • Positively

Top 5 English Collocations That We Use Regularly

These five phrases you definitely should take note.

1. Have a good time/day

You will never hear an English speaker say “enjoy a good time” or “make a good day”. “Have a good time” or “Have a good day” is commonly used at the end of a conversation. It not only finishes the conversation on a positive note but gives the opposite person a happy feeling.

2. Catch a cold

You will mostly hear an English speaker say “you are going to catch a cold” rather than “you are going to get a cold”. It is primarily used in the cold season when a person is sneezing terribly. It is appropriate for both formal and informal situations.

3. Save money

Don’t waste, save money for a rainy day”. The collocation “save money” refers to the idea of saving money. It is used in advertisements for investment policies. Additionally, advising a person who has a habit of spending too much money.

4. Make a difference

Go out and make a difference.”  You won’t catch an English speaker saying “create a difference”. It merely sounds strange. “Make a difference” collocation means to do something beneficial- something good that brings a positive change in the society.

5. Do business

“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you” or “Avoid doing business with that company”. These collocations are mostly used for professional settings where buying and selling of products/services are involved.

Simple Tips on Mastering the Use of Collocations

  • Try to identify and note down the collocations when you read a book or having a conversation with a person
  • Try and treat collocations as single blocks of language, ex: strongly support, not strongly + support
  • Always try to make a note of the new words and try to find other words to collate with it, ex: remember distinctly, remember vividly
  • Practice reading regularly. It is the ideal way of improving your vocabulary and collocation practice
  • Daily practice the collocations you learn and improve your vocabulary
  • Make use of a good collocation dictionary and learn them either by a topic (family, time, money) or by a specific word (take action, take an exam)

Sample Collocations to Sum Up

Many collocations are formed from noun+ Noun, verb+ Noun, adjective+ AdverbAdverb, and so on. Below you will find the top seven types of collocation in sentence form.

1. Adverb + Adjective
  • Are you fully awareof the consequences of your decision?
  • Invading someone’s privacy is an utterly stupidthing to do.
2. Adjective + Noun
  • The student got a great deal on her first signup.
  • The gigantic ship sank on its maiden voyage.
2. Noun + Noun
  • Mr Smith deserves a big round of applause.
  • Give me two bars of Cadbury, please.
3. Noun + verb
  • The bomb went offas she started the cab engine.
  • Thelion started to roar when it saw the buffaloes running.
4. Verb+ Noun
  • He was hanged to death for committing murder.
  • The intern was told to give a presentationabout her work.
5. Verb + Adverb
  • Shaun whispered softlyin Rosie’s ear.
  • I vaguely rememberhis performance in the school play.
6. Verb + expression with a preposition
  • They returned home because they ran out of money.
  • His behaviour was sickening enough to drive anybody to crime.

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Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips is an essay writer at Myassignmenthelp.co.uk who is associated with the company for the past six years. She has finished her master's degree from the University of South West England and has served as a guest lecturer at several colleges.

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