English Collocations


A collocation is a combination of two or more words expressed together that generally go with one another. It essentially makes the language sound fluent and natural. Collocation or word pairing are formed by combining certain nouns with certain verbs or adjectives. 
Standard collocations for example: 
heavy smoker(not strong smoker) ( He has turned into a heavy smoker.) 
the word ‘heavy’ appears more frequently with ‘smoker’ than by chance                     
strong tea ( not heavy tea) ( I love to drink strong tea.) 
Learning of collocation: 
We need to learn collocation to make our language sound natural and understandable. 
It enriches our language and adds a definite style to it. 
Enables you to communicate with right word choice. 

How to Master Collocations

Follow below steps:

We should be observant to recognize collocation whenever we encounter it.

Once we learn a new word we can try to find out words that collocate with it. 

Reading enhances vocabulary development and collocations naturally. 

We can learn them by topic ( time, money , weather ...) Or by a particular word 
    (alternative approach, alternative view , alternative way, alternative strategy) 
Practicing particular word combination helps in improving collocation learning. 

Revising and applying them in language context and situational context. 

Different Types of Collocations

English collocations can be formed by the combining verb, noun, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions etc. Let’s examine the parts of speech that make up the English collocation. 

1. adverb + adjective 

purely academic (She received awards for her purely academic achievements.)

fully aware  ( I am fully aware of the consequence) 

merely descriptive ( Her essay is not merely descriptive , but informative too.) 

2. adjectives + nouns 

attractive alternative ( David provided was with an attractive alternative.) 

fuzzy drinks  ( I don’t like to drink fuzzy drinks as they are unhealthy.)

drinks cabinet ( He stared at the displayed drinks cabinet with its gleaming sets of glasses.)

3. noun + noun 

cheese burger (The delicious cheese burger appeased my appetite) 

tuna sandwich (The tuna sandwich tasted awful.)

4. noun + verb

lions roar ( The lions roar echoed through the woods.)

data derived (We need to derive more data before we can do any more.)

ceasefire agreement ( The ceasefire agreement was timely signed.)

face difficulty ( As we walk through life we face many difficulties.) 

lack of experience ( He was dismissed due to lack of experience.)

carry out research ( You need to carry out more research on the topic.) 

5. Verb + expression with preposition 

shot from a low angle ( The bullet was shot from a low angle.) 

cost of her own life (She served the nation at the cost of her own life.)

drop in prices ( In recent times we see a sharp drop in petrol prices.) 

6. verb + adverb

       cried loudly   ( Hearing the news she cried out loudly.) 

       apologize humbly (We didn’t expect him to apologize humbly at that moment.)
        argue persuasively ( Rosy tried her best to argue persuasively.) 

Verb Collocations

Some commonly used verb collocations:

Begin       Get   Come  
 begin with something  get bankrupt  come into view
 began to read   get started  come to terms
 begin by writing  get over   come to a stand still
 begins at 8.30  get rid  come prepared
 Begin your story  get an opportunity  come early
 Keep  Catch Break
 Keep the change catch attention break from tradition
 Keep a promise catch the flu break off
 Keep quiet catch a cold break a fast 
 Keep records catch a glimpse break down in tears
 Keep a secret catch you later break a habit

Miscellaneous collocations:

 Time  Business  Weather
 free time  launch a new product   freezing cold
 time heals  go into partnership  scorching heat
 time flies   make profit  heavy rain
 mists of time   make loss  gusty wind
 at the time  step down  awful weather 
 ahead of time  close down  adverse weather conditions
 peak time   dismiss an offer   weather permits
 give me time   chair a meeting  weather forecast