Collocations are a fundamental aspect of language learning and communication. They refer to words or phrases that naturally occur together in a language. They form a combination of words that have a specific meaning. Native speakers of a language use collocations often without even realizing it. It makes them an essential component of fluency and proficiency in a language.
In this blog post, we will explore what collocations are and how you can study them to improve your language skills. At the end of the post, you can find a link to a grammar test you can practice your collocation knowledge.
What are Collocations?
Collocations are a set of two or more words that typically go together to form a meaningful phrase or expression. These words work together to create a specific meaning that would not be evident if the words were used separately. For example, “strong coffee” is a collocation, as the words “strong” and “coffee” are commonly used together in English to describe a particular type of coffee.
Collocations can be classified into two main categories: grammatical collocations and lexical collocations. Grammatical collocations are words that are used together due to the rules of grammar. Such as “make a decision” or “take a shower.” On the other hand, lexical collocations are words that are used together due to their inherent meaning. Such as “heavy rain” or “fast food.”
Why Study Collocations?
Studying collocations is essential for anyone who wants to become proficient in a language. Collocations are an integral part of fluent communication, and understanding them will allow you to speak and write more effectively. By learning collocations, you can:
- Improve your vocabulary: Collocations help you learn new words and phrases in context, which can help you expand your vocabulary.
- Speak more fluently: Knowing collocations can help you speak more fluently and naturally, as you will be able to use words and phrases that are commonly used together in the language.
- Write more effectively: Collocations are important in writing, as they can help you express your ideas more accurately and clearly.
How to Study Collocations?
There are several ways to study collocations, depending on your learning style and goals. Here are a few methods you can try:
- Read and listen to authentic materials: Reading and listening to authentic materials, such as books, articles, and podcasts, is an excellent way to learn collocations in context. Pay attention to the words and phrases that are used together, and try to use them in your own speaking and writing.
- Use collocation dictionaries and tools: Collocation dictionaries and tools are resources that can help you identify common collocations in a language. These resources often provide examples and usage notes, making them a valuable tool for language learners.
- Practice with collocation exercises: Collocation exercises can help you practice using collocations in context. These exercises often involve filling in the blank or matching the correct word to the phrase.
- Use collocations in your own writing and speaking: Finally, the best way to learn collocations is to use them in your own writing and speaking. Try to incorporate new collocations into your conversations and writing, and ask for feedback from native speakers or language teachers.
Mastering the Difference between “Do” and “Make” Collocations
In English, two of the most commonly used verbs are “do” and “make.” They are simple words. However, they can be challenging to differentiate, especially for non-native speakers. However, understanding the collocations (words that are often used together) with “do” and “make” can help you use them more accurately in your writing and speech. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to differentiate collocations used with “do” and “make.”
Collocations with “Do”
The verb “do” is generally used to refer to an action or activity that doesn’t produce a physical object. Here are some of the most common collocations with “do”:
- Do the dishes
- Do your homework
- Do your hair/makeup
- Do a favour
- Do exercise
Collocations with “Make”
The verb “make,” on the other hand, is usually used to refer to creating or producing something. Here are some of the most common collocations with “make”:
- Make breakfast/lunch/dinner
- Make a cake
- Make a phone call
- Make a plan
- Make money
Differentiating between Collocations with “Do” and “Make”
As you can see, the collocations with “do” and “make” can be quite different. However, there are some exceptions and tricky collocations that can be confusing. Here are some tips to help you differentiate between the two:
- Think about the end result: If the action produces something tangible or physical, it is usually a collocation with “make.” If the action is an activity or service, it is typically a collocation with “do.”
- Consider the context: Sometimes, the context can help you determine which verb to use. For example, if someone asks you what you did today, you might say “I did some exercise.” But if someone asks you what you did yesterday, and you say “I made some money,” it would make sense because making money is a tangible result.
- Learn collocations in context: When learning new vocabulary, it’s essential to learn them in context. This way, you will understand how the word is used and which verb (do or make) it collocates with.
- Practice using collocations: The best way to master collocations is to practice using them. Write or speak sentences using collocations with “do” and “make,” and ask for feedback from native speakers or language teachers.
Using Collocations in the IELTS Exam: Tips and Strategies
In the IELTS exam, using collocations can significantly improve your score in the writing and speaking sections. Collocations are groups of words that commonly go together, and using them correctly can demonstrate your command of the English language. In this blog post, we will provide tips and strategies on how to use collocations in the IELTS exam.
IELTS Writing Section
The IELTS writing section requires you to write two essays, one describing a graph, chart or table, and the other expressing an opinion or discussing an issue. Here are some tips on how to use collocations effectively in your writing:
- Use appropriate collocations for the topic: Make sure to use collocations that are appropriate for the topic you are writing about. For instance, if the topic is about education, use collocations such as “higher education,” “academic success,” or “educational system.”
- Use collocations to show a range of vocabulary: Using collocations can demonstrate a range of vocabulary and sophistication in your writing. Instead of using basic words, try to use more complex and sophisticated collocations to convey your ideas.
- Use collocations in your introduction and conclusion: Using collocations in your introduction and conclusion can make your essay more coherent and cohesive. For instance, you could use a collocation such as “in summary” or “to conclude” to signal the end of your essay.
IELTS Speaking Section
The IELTS speaking section is a face-to-face interview with an examiner. Here are some tips on how to use collocations in your speaking:
- Use collocations to express your opinion: Using collocations can help you express your opinions more effectively. For example, instead of saying “I think,” use a collocation such as “in my view,” “from my perspective,” or “it seems to me.”
- Use collocations to describe things: Describing things using collocations can help you communicate more accurately. For instance, instead of saying “a big house,” use a collocation such as “spacious house,” “a vast mansion,” or “a grand residence.”
- Use collocations to connect ideas: Using collocations can help you connect ideas more effectively. For instance, you could use a collocation such as “on the other hand,” “in addition,” or “moreover” to link ideas together.
Practice Using Collocations
The key to using collocations effectively is to practice. Here are some ways you can practice using collocations:
- Read articles and essays: Reading articles and essays written by native speakers can help you learn new collocations and see how they are used in context.
- Listen to podcasts and watch TV shows: Listening to podcasts and watching TV shows can help you improve your listening skills and learn new collocations.
- Use a collocation dictionary: Using a collocation dictionary can help you learn new collocations and understand how they are used in context.
In conclusion, using collocations in the IELTS exam can significantly improve your score in the writing and speaking sections. Make sure to use appropriate collocations for the topic, use collocations to show a range of vocabulary, and practice using them regularly. With these tips and strategies, you can use collocations effectively and communicate more accurately and flu