Learn common English collocations with examples.
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What is a collocation?
- A collocation is two or more words that often go together. Some examples are “pay attention”, “fast food”, “make an effort”, and “powerful engine”.
- Collocations make it easier to avoid overused or ambiguous words like “very”, “nice”, or “beautiful”, by using a pair of words that fits the context better and has a more precise meaning.
Types of English 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
- Ben and Jane are happily married.
- You are fully aware that there are serious problems.
- George was blissfully unaware that he was in danger.
Adjective + Noun
- Joe always wears blue or white or some other bright color.
- We had a brief chat about Iraq but didn’t have time to discuss it properly.
- Unemployment is a major problem for the government these days.
Noun + Noun
There are a lot of collocation with pattern a … of …
- Let’s give Mr. Jones a round of applause.
- The ceasefire agreement came into effect at 11am.
- I’d like to buy two bars of soap.
Noun + Verb
- The economy boomed in 2002.
- The company has grown and now employs over 30 people.
- The company has expanded and now has branches in most major countries.
Verb + Noun (Verb Collocations)
- They launched the production 1998.
- The price increase poses a problem for them.
- The internet has created opportunities for his company.
Verb + Preposition
- As Bob went on stage to receive his medal you could see his sister swelling with pride.
- I was filled with horrorwhen I read the newspaper report of the war.
- When she spilt apple-juice on her new blue skirt the little girl burst into tears.
Verb + Adverb
- He pulled steadily on the rope and helped her to safety.
- She placedthe beautiful jar gently on the window ledge.
- ‘I love you and want to marry you,’ Michael whispered softly to Clare.
Noun + Preposition
- What’s the reason for your unhappiness?
- Nobody seems to have responsibility for the budget.
- The police inquiry into the theft continues.
Adjective + Preposition
- The town is famous for its cheese.
- I’m quite good at English but I’m bad at maths and I’m terrible at physics.
- You’ll be responsible to the head of the Finance department.