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Collocations in English Language

by Andrea Čečura


What is collocation?
Why learn collocations?

Collocation is 'a predictable combination of words' for example we can say heavy rain but not strong rain because it does not sound right' likewise, we can say 'do exercise' but not 'make exercise'.

Collocations can be made up of any kinds of words such as verbs, nouns, adverbs and adjectives.

Collocations can provide a short cut to accuracy as you don’t have to learn lots of words and then figure out how to put them together, you just learn one ‘piece of language’
How to learn collocations?

Be aware of collocations, and try to recognize them when you see or hear them.

Treat collocations as single blocks of language.

Think of them as individual blocks or chunks, and learn strongly support, not strongly + support.

Learn collocations in groups that work for you.
You could learn them by topic (time, number, weather, money, family) or by a particular word (take actiontake a chancetake an exam).
Types of collocations
There are several different types of collocation made from combinations of verb, noun, adjective etc.

Some of the most common types are:
adverb + adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied)
adjective + noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy)
noun + noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger)
noun + verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout)
verb + noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide)
verb + expression with preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears)
verb + adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly)
Examples of collocations
Examples of collocations with take, get, do, make, go…

He had intended to take a holiday in New York.
He wanted to see if he could get a job with us.
My goals were to go back to school and get a degree.
I’ll take a look at the website and let you know what I think. 
He was beginning to get angry.
Couldn’t you do a favour and leave me alone?
Could you do a report for me?
We are to make a contract for a supply of raw silk with the company.
We need to make a deal for this project.
The company is about to go bankrupt.