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Collocations: Improve Your English Fluency with These Essential Word Combinations

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Welcome to our article on Collocations! If you’re an English learner, you’ve probably come across the term “collocation” before. But what exactly does it mean? In simple terms, a collocation is a pair or group of words that commonly go together in English. For example, we say “make a mistake” instead of “do a mistake” or “take a decision” instead of “make a decision”.

Understanding Collocations

Collocations are words that are commonly used together in natural-sounding English. For example, “make a mistake” and “take a break” are collocations. Using collocations correctly can make your English sound more fluent and natural.

On the other hand, using words that don’t commonly go together can make your English sound awkward or even confusing. For example, saying “do a mistake” instead of “make a mistake” is incorrect and can lead to misunderstandings.

Collocations can be formed by combining different parts of speech, such as a verb and a noun, or an adjective and a noun. For example, “take a shower” is a collocation formed by combining the verb “take” with the noun “shower”.


Types of Collocations

In this section, we will discuss the two main types of collocations: grammatical and lexical collocations.

Grammatical Collocations

Grammatical collocations are collocations that are formed by the way words are put together in a sentence. These types of collocations are based on the rules of grammar. Here are some examples of grammatical collocations:

  • Verb + Preposition: “look after”, “depend on”, “belong to”
  • Adjective + Preposition: “fond of”, “interested in”, “good at”
  • Noun + Preposition: “aware of”, “responsible for”, “dependent on”

When learning English, it is important to understand grammatical collocations because they can help you construct sentences that sound natural and fluent.

Lexical Collocations

Lexical collocations are collocations that are formed by the combination of words that have a strong relationship in meaning. These types of collocations are based on the meaning of words. Here are some examples of lexical collocations:

  • Adjective + Noun: “heavy rain”, “bright future”, “hot coffee”
  • Verb + Noun: “make progress”, “take action”, “give advice”
  • Noun + Noun: “traffic jam”, “business partner”, “coffee shop”

Lexical collocations are important to learn because they can help you expand your vocabulary and communicate more effectively in English.

List of Common Collocations

In this section, we will cover some common collocations that are frequently used in English. Collocations are pairs of words that are often used together and sound natural to native speakers.

Collocations with “say”

Collocation Example Sentence
Say hello I always say hello to my neighbors when I see them.
Say goodbye It’s always hard to say goodbye to someone you love.
Say sorry If you make a mistake, it’s important to say sorry.
Say thank you Don’t forget to say thank you when someone does something nice for you.
Say a prayer Before bed, I like to say a prayer to help me sleep peacefully.
Say a word She didn’t say a word during the entire meeting.
Say aloud Can you say that aloud so everyone can hear you?
Say anything You can say anything you want, as long as it’s true.
Say for sure I can’t say for sure if I’ll be able to make it to the party.
Say out loud Sometimes it’s helpful to say your thoughts out loud to organize them.
Say good morning Every day, I make it a point to say good morning to my coworkers.
Say good afternoon When you meet someone in the afternoon, it’s polite to say good afternoon.
Say something If you have something to say, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Say nothing Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all than to say the wrong thing.
Say so If you feel strongly about something, just say so.
Say a few words At the wedding, the father of the bride will say a few words to welcome everyone.
Say no more I understand what you’re trying to say, so say no more.
Say for certain I can’t say for certain if it will rain tomorrow.
Say yes If you want to go to the party, just say yes.
Say no If you’re not interested, it’s okay to say no.
Related  40 Powerful Collocations with MAKE in English

Collocations with “tell”

Collocation Example Sentence
Tell a story My grandfather used to tell me stories about his childhood.
Tell a joke I heard a funny joke today that made me laugh out loud.
Tell the truth It’s always best to tell the truth, even if it’s difficult.
Tell a lie Lying is never a good idea, as the truth will always come out eventually.
Tell a secret If someone tells you a secret, it’s important to keep it to yourself.
Tell someone’s fortune The fortune teller predicted that I would have a long and happy life.
Tell someone’s future It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but it’s fun to imagine and speculate.
Tell someone’s past My grandmother loves to tell stories about her past, and I always enjoy listening.
Tell someone’s story Biographers spend years researching and writing to tell someone’s story in a compelling way.
Tell the difference Can you tell the difference between these two shades of blue?
Tell somebody the way Excuse me, can you tell me the way to the nearest gas station?
Tell somebody so If you need help, don’t be afraid to tell somebody so.
Tell one from another These two plants look almost identical, but if you look closely, you can tell one from another.
Tell the truth Honesty is always the best policy, so tell the truth even if it’s hard.
Tell the time I forgot my watch, so I have to ask someone to tell me the time.
Tell your name When you meet someone new, it’s polite to tell your name and shake hands.

Collocations with “ask”

Collocation Example Sentence
Ask about I haven’t seen John in a while, so I need to ask about how he’s doing.
Ask a favor Can I ask a favor of you? Could you help me move this couch?
Ask after somebody When you see your aunt, ask after her husband.
Ask a question Don’t be afraid to ask a question if you don’t understand something.
Ask around If you’re looking for a good restaurant, ask around and see if anyone has a recommendation.
Ask for advice When making a big decision, it’s always a good idea to ask for advice from someone you trust.
Ask for directions Excuse me, can you help me? I’m lost and need to ask for directions.
Ask for help If you’re struggling with something, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Ask for permission Before borrowing something, it’s important to ask for permission first.
Ask for somebody When you arrive at the airport, ask for somebody to help you with your luggage.
Ask for something If you need something, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Ask permission If you want to leave early, you need to ask permission from your boss.
Ask somebody out I really like this girl, so I’m going to ask her out on a date.
Ask someone’s address Excuse me, can I ask for your address so I can send you an invitation?
Ask someone’s age It’s impolite to ask someone’s age, so it’s best to avoid that question.
Ask someone’s name When meeting someone new, it’s polite to ask their name.
Ask someone’s opinion I’m not sure which dress to wear, so I’m going to ask my friend’s opinion.
Ask someone’s phone number Can I ask for your phone number so we can stay in touch?
Ask the price When shopping, it’s always a good idea to ask the price before making a purchase.
Ask the time Excuse me, can you tell me what time it is? I forgot my watch and need to ask the time.

Collocations with “go”

Collocation Example Sentence
Go to bed I usually go to bed around 10 pm to make sure I get enough sleep.
Go to work I have to leave early today because I need to go to work.
Go to school My kids go to school from 8 am to 3 pm every weekday.
Go on vacation We’re going on vacation to Hawaii next month, and I can’t wait.
Go shopping I need to go shopping for groceries and some new clothes.
Go for a walk After dinner, I like to go for a walk to help digest my food.
Go for a run I go for a run every morning to help wake me up and start my day.
Go for a swim When it’s hot outside, I love to go for a swim in the pool.
Go for a drive On weekends, my husband and I like to go for a drive in the countryside.
Go for a ride My son loves to go for a bike ride with his friends in the park.
Related  Common Collocations With GET with Practice and Exercises

Collocations with “make”

Collocation Example Sentence
Make a decision It’s time to make a decision about which college to attend.
Make a plan Let’s make a plan for the weekend, so we don’t waste any time.
Make a mistake It’s okay to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it.
Make a suggestion If you have a suggestion, don’t be afraid to make it.
Make a phone call I need to make a phone call to confirm our dinner reservation.
Make a reservation Before going to the restaurant, we need to make a reservation.
Make a promise If you make a promise, make sure you keep it.
Make a difference Small actions can make a big difference in the world.
Make a cake My daughter loves to make a cake for special occasions.
Make breakfast Every morning, I make breakfast for my family before they leave for work and school.
Make a sandwich When I’m in a hurry, I make a sandwich for lunch.
Make a salad In the summer, I love to make a fresh salad with vegetables from my garden.
Make a bed Before leaving the house, make sure to make the bed.
Make a fire When camping, it’s important to make a fire for warmth and cooking.
Make a painting My friend is an artist and loves to make paintings in her spare time.
Make a movie My brother and his friends like to make movies as a hobby.
Make a living It’s important to find a job that allows you to make a living and support yourself.
Make progress Even if it’s slow, it’s important to make progress towards your goals.
Make time If something is important to you, make time for it in your schedule.

Collocations with “do”

Collocation Example Sentence
Do homework Every day after school, I have to do my homework before I can play.
Do the dishes After dinner, I always do the dishes to help my mom.
Do laundry On weekends, I do laundry to make sure I have clean clothes for the week.
Do a favor If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask someone to do you a favor.
Do your best When taking a test or doing a project, always do your best.
Do research Before making a big purchase, it’s important to do research to find the best option.
Do business My dad travels a lot for work and does business with companies all over the world.
Do exercise To stay healthy, it’s important to do exercise regularly.
Do a job As a carpenter, my grandfather did a lot of jobs building furniture and houses.
Do a project In school, students often have to do a project to demonstrate their knowledge.
Do the cooking My mom loves to do the cooking for family gatherings and holidays.
Do the cleaning On weekends, we usually do the cleaning to keep the house tidy.
Do the gardening In the spring, my husband likes to do the gardening and plant flowers and vegetables.
Do the shopping My sister and I usually do the shopping together on weekends.
Do the driving On road trips, my husband usually does the driving while I navigate.
Do the talking During meetings, my boss likes to do the talking and share his ideas.
Do the writing As a journalist, I do a lot of writing for my articles and stories.
Do the math When splitting a bill, it’s important to do the math to make sure everyone pays their fair share.
Do the dishes After dinner, someone needs to do the dishes so they don’t pile up.

Collocations with “take”

Collocation Example Sentence
Take a break After working for several hours, it’s important to take a break and rest.
Take a shower Every morning, I take a shower to wake up and feel refreshed.
Take a nap If you’re feeling tired, take a nap to recharge your energy.
Take a photo When traveling, I like to take a lot of photos to capture memories.
Take a walk In the afternoon, I like to take a walk around the park to get some fresh air.
Take a trip Next summer, I want to take a trip to Europe and visit several countries.
Take a chance Sometimes, it’s good to take a chance and try something new.
Take a seat Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable while I get you some water.
Take a test Before graduating, students have to take a test to demonstrate their knowledge.
Take a class To improve your skills, you can take a class or workshop in your field.
Take a pill If you’re feeling sick, you can take a pill to alleviate your symptoms.
Take a drink On hot days, it’s important to take a drink of water to stay hydrated.
Take a chance If you’re single, take a chance and ask that person out on a date.
Take a deep breath When feeling anxious or stressed, take a deep breath to calm yourself down.
Take a stand If you believe in something, take a stand and speak up for what you believe in.
Take a look Can you take a look at this document and let me know if there are any errors?
Take a hike If someone is bothering you, tell them to take a hike and leave you alone.
Take a taxi If you’re in a hurry, take a taxi to get to your destination quickly.
Take a chance When playing the lottery, you have to take a chance and hope for the best.
Take a turn After walking straight for several blocks, take a turn to the right and you’ll see the restaurant on your left.
Related  Useful Collocations with KEEP | English Vocabulary

Common Collocation Errors

As with any language, there are common mistakes that learners make when using collocations in English. Here are a few of the most frequent errors we see:

Incorrect Word Combinations

One of the most common mistakes that learners make is using an incorrect word combination. For example, instead of saying “make a decision,” a learner might say “take a decision.” While this still conveys the general meaning, it sounds unnatural to a native speaker. Here are some other examples of incorrect word combinations:

  • Take a bath (instead of have a bath)
  • Do a mistake (instead of make a mistake)
  • Give an advice (instead of give advice)

To avoid these errors, it’s important to research and memorize common collocations, such as “make a decision” or “have a bath.”

Misuse of Prepositions

Another common mistake is misusing prepositions. For example, instead of saying “interested in,” a learner might say “interested at.” Here are some other examples of preposition misuse:

  • Depend on (instead of depend upon)
  • Composed of (instead of composed by)
  • Different from (instead of different than)

To avoid these errors, it’s important to learn which prepositions are commonly used with certain words. For example, “depend on” is a common collocation, while “depend upon” is less common.

By avoiding these common errors and practicing with common collocations, you can improve your English and sound more natural when speaking or writing.

How to Learn Collocations

Learning collocations is an important aspect of mastering the English language. In this section, we will discuss some effective ways to learn collocations.

Reading and Listening

One of the best ways to learn collocations is by reading and listening to authentic English materials. This could be anything from books, newspapers, magazines, to podcasts and TV shows. When you come across a collocation, take note of it and try to understand its meaning in context. You can also try to identify other collocations that are used with the same word.

Practice Writing and Speaking

To improve your ability to use collocations in your own writing and speaking, it is important to practice. One effective way to do this is to keep a collocation journal. Whenever you come across a new collocation, write it down along with its meaning and an example sentence. Then, try to use it in your own writing or speaking. You can also practice with a language partner or tutor by having conversations and writing exercises focused on using collocations.

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Wednesday 1st of January 2020

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