Collocations of Words: The Secret to Sounding Like a Native English Speaker

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to learning English is practice collocations of words (the combinations of words that naturally go together).

Collocations are essential for sounding like a native speaker, and they can also make your writing more accurate and idiomatic.

In this article, we’ll discuss what collocations are and why they’re important, as well as give some examples of common and advanced collocations in English. Keep reading to start improving your language skills today!

Collocations are groups of words that native speakers typically use together when speaking or writing English. They help your sentences sound more natural. That being said, many learners aren’t as familiar with collocations as they should be, which can lead to awkward sentences and constructions which prevent them from sounding fluent in English.

Test Yourself

What Are Collocations of Words

A collocation is a group of words that native speakers typically use together when speaking or writing English. Collocations are often idiomatic phrases that help your sentences sound more natural. In this context, “idiomatic” means natural to a native speaker.

Why Are Word Collocations Important?

Word collocations are important because they help you sound more natural when you speak or write in English. When you use collocations, you are using words that are often used together, and this makes it easier for native speakers to understand you.

For example, if you say “I have a big problem”, this is much better than saying “I have a large problem”. In both cases, the concept is the same same, but “big” works better with “problem.”

On the other hand, “large” typically goes better with “size”. So, if you want to say that something is big, you could say “It’s a large size.”

How Can You Use Collocations to Improve Your English Speaking and Writing Skills?

Here are some tips:

  • Listen to native speakers and note which words they use together.
  • Read a lot in English, and pay attention to which words are often used together.
  • Use a collocation dictionary or a search engine to find out which words are typically used together.
  • Practice using collocations in your speaking and writing.
  • Play word games and do puzzles to help you remember new collocations.

Some Examples of Common English Collocations (and How They Can Go Wrong)

  • make a decision (not “do a decision”)
  • play a role (not “do a role”)
  • take action (not “do action” or “start action”)
  • give advice (not “tell advice” or “say advice”)
  • get angry (not “turn angry”)
  • make an effort (not “perform an effort”)
  • keep a secret (not “maintain a secret”)
  • get married (not “become married”)
  • break the law (not “violate the law”)
  • have a meeting (not “conduct a meeting”)
  • make progress (not “achieve progress”)
  • hard work (not “heavy work”)
  • heavy traffic (not “hard traffic”)
  • real estate (not “actual estate”)
  • bad news (not “evil news”)
  • good luck (not “fortunate luck”)
  • common sense (not “usual sense”)
  • old friends (not “ancient friends”)
  • sick child (not “ill child”)
  • high price (not “tall price”)
  • low quality (not “short quality”)
  • right time (not “proper time”)
  • completely different (not “absolutely different”)
  • absolutely essential (not “completely essential”)
  • a big mistake (not “a large mistake”)
  • a little bit (not “a small bit”)

Final Thoughts

Learning collocations is a great way to improve your English speaking and writing skills. It can be a bit of a challenge at first, but the more you listen, read, and practice using collocations, the easier it will become. Soon, you’ll be using them like a native speaker.

Make sure to take advantage of our English eBooks and online courses to help you learn English collocations. Our eBooks and interactive courses make learning fun and easy, and they’ll help you improve your English quickly. Get them today to get started!

English Collocation Practice

Collocation Quiz (10 Questions)

A Story to Practice Collocations in English

story to practice English collocations

“Hurry up!” Emily whispered, tugging on her friend’s arm. “We’re going to be late for the movie!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Alex grumbled, hurrying along behind her.

They had planned to meet up an hour before the movie started, but of course, Alex had shown up late. As a result, they were now rushing to make it to the theater in time.

“Why do you always have to be late?” Emily asked, frustrated.

“I don’t know, I’m just a naturally late person I guess,” Alex replied with a wide smile.

Despite her frustration, Emily couldn’t help but smile too. She and Alex had been friends for years, and she knew that this was just a typical Alex move.

“Well, we’re finally here,” Emily said as they reached the theater. “And we only have to sit through half the movie.”

“Hey, that’s not so bad,” Alex said. “At least we’ll get to see the good part!”

Emily rolled her eyes, but she was secretly glad that her friend had shown up late once again. At least now she can pretend to be mad and then laugh it off later. That’s just the way their friendship works.

You finished the lesson! Good job! ☺️

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See Also

See Also