Have a bath, make money… these words go together, they are word partnerships – also known as collocations. If you have ever wanted your writing or speaking to sound more fluid and natural, understanding collocations and how to use them is essential!
What are collocations?
Collocations are groups or chunks of words which often go together. These often sound ‘just right’ to a native speaker and can help you understand and improve native speech patterns better!
For example, despite it making sense vocabulary-wise, a native speaker would say “I’m going to have a quick shower” as opposed to “fast shower”. Of course, some people might say it in this way but for the majority, and often across English-speaking countries, the latter is more likely to be used.
How can I learn collocations?
1) Lots and lots of reading – this can help you understand natural speech patterns which will become a natural way in which you could speak. Be careful of what you read, however, because some texts are more professional/relaxed than others.
2) When you learn a new verb, see what other words are often found with them (ie. remember rightly, remember distinctly, remember vaguely, remember vividly).
3) As soon as you learn a new collocation, try using it in context as soon as you can. Have a conversation with your friend or practise in the mirror!
4) Learn them and memorise them in ‘chunks’. It’s easier for our brains to memorise in chunks rather than individual words.
Here is a list of common collocations using the following five verbs (have, do, make, take and break):
- Have a bath – to bathe oneself.
- Have a drink – to take a drink of water or another beverage.
- Have a problem – dealing with an issue.
- Have a good time – to enjoy an experience.
- Have a holiday – going on a break.
- Have a rest – to sit or lie down to rest.
- Do business – complete a business tasks/s.
- Do nothing – complete nothing.
- Do a favour – perform a task for another person.
- Do the shopping – to go to the store and buy items.
- Do your best – to complete a task to the best of your ability.
- Do the washing up – washing the dishes.
- Make a difference – to enforce change on something (typically positive).
- Make a mess – to create a mess of something.
- Make money – to work or gain money.
- Make a noise – to create some sort of sound.
- Make an effort – to put in more effort.
- Make room – to enable more space.
- Take a break – to pause the task you are doing temporarily.
- Take a chance – to take a risk in order to benefit from the potential gain.
- Take a look – to look at something.
- Take a seat – to sit in a seat.
- Take notes – to write down some notes.
- Take an exam – to do an exam.
- Break a leg – to wish someone luck.
- Break a promise – to deviate that from a promise.
- Break the law – to deviate from the law.
- Break a heart – to hurt someone’s feeling a lot.
- Break a record – to surpass a previous record.
- Break the rules – to misbehave or deviate from set rules.
There are so many more collocations which come natural with learning the English language. You probably know a couple already! See more collocations here.
Would you like to know more about collocations? Book lessons with one of our lovely tutors here!: https://browncowenglish.com/product/online-english-courses/