Collocations examples

English collocations – how words are put together

Collocation is a sequence of words that often occur together, because they sound correct and natural. Similar combination of words describing the same thing or situation might sound unnatural or even funny.

What could be the result?
As a result, it may have a negative impact on your confidence to speak English. Therefore good knowledge of English collocations and phrases is very mportant. It will help you speak more fluently with higher confidence and your English will sound much more natural.

Collocations examples – correct and incorrect:

heavy rain -> correct
strong rain -> incorrect

run fast -> correct
run quick -> incorrrect
fast food -> correct
speed food -> incorrect

do the homework -> correct
make the homework -> incorrrect
fight hard -> correct
fight tough -> incorrect

well done -> correct
good done -> incorrrect

Collocation types with examples

There are several forms of collocations in English language. The most common types along with some examples are described in the following table:

verb + noun catch a bus, make a call, do a homework, take a photo, pay attention
verb + adverb regret deeply, disagree strongly, deny completely, accuse falsely
adjective + noun heavy rain, strong supporter, fast car, quick shower, big surprise
adverb + adjective bitterly angry, deeply concerned, widely acceptable, highly appreciated
noun + noun round of drinks, sense of humor, smell of success, bar of soap

This is a short video that explains some of the most common verb + noun collocations.

Collocations versus phrasal verbs / idioms

Unlike phrasal verbs or idioms, collocations can be quite easily understood. That makes them a little bit easier to learn. However, the best way to learn them quickly and correctly is to read a lot of examples.

Here are some useful tips for your self-study:
1. in any situation, try to be aware of any collocation you hear or read
2. if you notice a collocation, write it down or associate it with a situation (context)
3. organize your list by words or by topic

Remember, it is very likely that you will have to memorize some English collocations. It will be the same process as learning new words. In other cases, though, the collocation may come naturally and you will understand and learn it by reading and listening.

Therefore it’s strongly advisable (another nice example of adverb + adjective collocation) that you read a lot of news articles where you can learn many collocations from daily life.

Our 2-step method:

In order to help you to understand correctly when somebody uses a collocation in a speech or conversation, we have created a concept based on examples from movies.

As you probably know, you can hear lots of collocations in American movies and TV shows. In fact, they are really frequently used in spoken English.

The method is very simple, yet very effective.

STEP 1. Listen to collocations in short video samples in real-life situations
duty calls
get lost

These are the examples of some of them, which you will certainly hear in many conversations with English speakers on a daily basis.
So the best way to master them is to learn them in context in real sentences. And I am pretty sure that the best context is your favorite movie or TV show 🙂

STEP 2. Practice them in short exercises
If teacher in a school smokes a cigarette, he is ______ a bad example for his students.
Collocations sample
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More examples of sentences with English collocations

1. John was complaining bitterly about the poor attitudes of his staff.
2. Don’t judge him too harshly. You don’t know all the details.
3. Could you please do me a favor and stop smoking?
4. The proposed Enbridge pipeline poses a massive threat to pristine areas across central B.C.

Collocations | Idioms | Phrasal verbs | Words

(117 terms)
so to speakwhen you try to get an attention to a choice of words (if metaphoric phrase is used)
say hiform of greeting
take chancesto go into risk
take eye off somethingto look in the different direction
beat downsphysical attacks
flax seedsseeds of a flax plant
take a whileto take some amount of time
get to know each otherknow other person better
straight updirectly
As you were!Military command meaning that soldier may return to normal posture
to taste goodto have a good taste
tax evasion not paying taxes
hard woodfloor made of wood
full timeworking full hours (not part-time)
I am sorry about your lossphrase used at funerals to express condolences
fancy dinnerdinner in an expensive restaurant
on purposeto do something deliberately with an intention to do it
well-groomedvery well maintained person with regard to dress and appearance
split x waysto divide into x parts
come easyhappen easily
get straightto make things clear
cop-watchwatching whether police is not approaching
to be of serviceto offer service
rib of beefmeat from a rib section of beef
to have a pointto be right about something, to provide a good description of a situation
takeout foodfood in plastic container for eating later
move forwardthe next step in a process
crooked as a politiciancorrupted as politician
long-distance callphone call between two distant cities or countries
at stakeamount or value which can be won or lost
meal to gotakeout food, food in plastic container
Behave yourselfto behave decently
out of nowherewhen something appears suddenly and unexpectedly
never mindit does not matter
unspoken agreementagreement without saying any words
bring to the boilto reach the state when water boils
keep a promiseto do what was promised
snow-cappedcovered with snow
by the wayincidentally
retread tires to replace worn out material on tires
high tiderise of a sea level
needles to saywhen something is known and can be taken for granted, of course
tartar saucemayonnaise with chopped pickles
fall asleepstart sleeping
all of a suddensuddenly, unexpectedly
tell him I said hito give greetings
find (someone) attractiveto think that someone is attractive
on your ownto be solely responsible for something
come as a surpriseto make someone feel surprised
flat tirestires with no air
side noteextra piece of information
nasty freakpervert person
take it slowto do something slowly
get goingto move, to start moving
in my timeduring my life
put (something) in actionto turn theory into action
consolation prizea small prize given to someone who lost in a competition
time zonegeographical zone with specific time
take a chanceto risk
for a whilecertain amount of time
to be better offto be in a better position than before
pay attentionto listen carefully and trying to understand the subject matter
no offensewithout intention to offend somebody
take a napto have a quick, short sleep
jet lagconditions of sleep problem when travelling
This is so us!This is typical for us!
freshly preparedrecently prepared fresh food
without consentwithout agreement or approval from other person
sexual ardoursexual passion
human beinghuman (man or woman)
take a lookto have a look
raise an objection (to someone or something)to disagree or to protest against someone or something
soul mateperson with strong emotional connection
self-esteemfeeling good about own personality
give a warm welcome (to someone)to welcome someone with applause
couple of weeks awayin a few weeks
all overeverywhere
to be on salewhen something is for sale at a discount price
do one’s bestto do the maximum
file (tax) returnsto submit taxes to authorities
make (something) happenaccomplish or achieve something, not just talking but actually doing it
pick pocketsto steal personal belongings of tourists from pockets
evade responsibilityto run away from responsibility
out of reachunreachable, inaccessible
all aroundall over the place
long-distance relationshiprelationship when partners are living far from each other
snow squallheavy snow precipitation
senior yearfinal year in high school
take a loanto borrow some amount of money
first matethe first officer on a ship after captain
criminal chargesformal accusation that somebody has commited a crime
whipped creamcream mixed using a whisk or mixer
go for somethingto start doing something
happen to noticeto see accidentally
middle of nowherefar from a civilization
clam chowderthick soup with clams (seafood)
in vainwithout sense, pointless
The best is yet to comethe best experience is still to come
best manfriend of the bridegroom at the wedding
stay putstay where you are
jumper cablescables to help start the car engine when an auto battery is low
sealed containercontainer with a firm cover
to get something looked atto get something checked (by a doctor)
fall asleepto start sleeping
do a favorto help with something
induction dayfirst day when somebody starts in an organization
make fun of somebodymake jokes about somebody, to mock
play somebody against somebodyto make someone to have a conflict with someone else
chem analysischemical analysis
cake recipestep by step process for preparing a cake
seat is takenseat is not vacant, seat is unavailable
take turnswhen two or more people alternate in doing something
no offencewithout intention to offend somebody
take something the wrong wayto misunderstand or misinterpret something
brain damageinjury to brain
cruise shiplarge ship for pleasure voyages
to stay between uskeep a secret, not to tell to anybody else