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English Grammar Lesson – English collocations! September 21st, 2016

“I’m so interested under learning English vocabulary!”

English collocations 1

Oops! Let’s try that again.

“I’m so interested about learning English vocabulary!”

English collocations 2

One more time!

“I’m so interested in learning English vocabulary!”

English collocations 3

Much better!

The Struggle

Collocations fall into the category of English vocabulary that students either love or hate. It is estimated that more than 30% of English is comprised of these collocations. But, what the heck are they and how can I use them!?


Words that go together naturally in English. Typically comprised of 2 or more words which sound “naturally” together.

Check out these examples:

examples of English collocations

Why Bother?

Collocations are a great way to make your language sound more natural and fluent. Native speakers use them to add variety in their speech, and to enrichen their expressions. It is also commonly believed that we learn language better when they are in “chunks,” rather than single words.

Learning Collocations Tips

  • Treat collocations as single blocks of language. Think of them as individual blocks or chunks, and learn strongly support, not strongly + support.
  • When you learn a new word, write down other words that collocate with it (remember rightly,remember distinctly, remember vaguely, remember vividly).
  • Read as much as possible. Reading is an excellent way to learn vocabulary and collocations in context and naturally.
  • Revise what you learn regularly. Practise using new collocations in context as soon as possible after learning them.
  • Learn collocations in groups that work for you. You could learn them by topic (time, number, weather, money, family) or by a particular word (take action, take a chance, take an exam).

My American Life

Let’s look at a typical conversation between a couple of American college students. Try and find the collocations!

Max and Jessica

Max and Jessica


J: Hey Max! What’s up? I haven’t seen you all day.

M: Oh, hi Jessica. Not much is up with me. I was just hanging out in the library studying. I have a test to make up.

J: Which class are you studying for? Maybe I can help.

M: That would be awesome! Thanks. It’s an Art History 101 test.

J: Well, you know I major in Art, so this won’t take long to prepare you for it.

M: I’m glad to hear that. Let’s get down to business shall we?

J: That works for me!


Now try writing your own dialogue using collocations. I’m sure you will find that they just fall out of your pen!