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The knowledge of Collocations is very important for proper use of English Language. If we cannot use right collocations, a grammatically correct sentence will stand out awkward.

English Collocations fall into the category of Phraseology which means a particular mode of expression, especially one characteristic of a particular speaker or subject area. It is the study of set or fixed expressions, such as idioms, phrasal verbs, and other types of multi-word lexical units (often collectively referred to as phrasemes).

In this type of use the component parts of the expression take on a meaning more specific than or otherwise not predictable from the sum of their meanings when used independently.

We can say Collocation is the way words are habitually used together to produce a specific meaning. This includes, among others, verbal phrases, verbs compounds, noun compounds, compounds with particles and adjective-noun collocates.

In addition to producing specific meaning, collocations or its initiatory parts, increase the predictability of the message and anchor it in the context of communication by signaling to the listener or reader that a specific meaning is about to be proved.


There are several different types of collocations. Collocations can be:

  • Adjective Collocations
  • Adverbial Collocations
  • Verbal Collocations
  • Genitive Collocations


Example of seven main types of collocations:

  1. adverb + adjective
  • Invading that country was an utterly stupid thing to do.
  • We entered a richly decorated
  • Are you fully aware of the implications of your action?


  1. adjective + noun
  • The doctor advised him to take regular exercise.
  • The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage.
  • He was writhing on the ground in excruciating pain.


  1. noun + noun
  • Let's give Mr Sharma a round of applause.
  • The ceasefire agreement came into effect at 11 am.
  • I'd like to buy two bars of soap, please.


  1.  noun + verb
  • The lion started to roar when it heard the dog barking.
  • Snow was falling as our plane took off.
  • The bomb went off when he started the car engine.


  1. verb + noun The prisoner was hang
  • The prisoner was hanged for committing murder.
  • I always try to do my homework in the morning, after making my bed.
  • He has been asked to give a presentation about his work.


  1. verb + expression with prep
  • We had to return home because we had run out of money.
  • At first her eyes filled with horror, and then she burst into tears.
  • Their behaviour was enough to drive anybody to crime.


  1. verb + adverb
  • She placed her keys gently on the table and sat down.
  • Sweety whispered softly in Raj’s ear.
  • I vaguely remember that it was growing dark when we left.








have a bath

do business

make a difference

have a drink

do nothing

make a mess

have a good time

do someone a favour

make a mistake

have a haircut

do the cooking

make a noise

have a holiday

do the housework

make an effort

have a problem

do the shopping

make furniture

have a relationship

do the washing up

make money

have a rest

do your best

make progress

have lunch

do you hair

make room

have sympathy

do your homework

make trouble




take a break

break a habit

catch a ball

take a chance

break a leg

catch a bus

take a look

break a promise

catch a chill

take a rest

break a record

catch a cold

take a taxi

break someone?s heart

catch fire

take an exam

break the ice

catch sight for

take notes

break the law

catch someone?s attention

take someone?s place

break the news to someone

catch someone?s eye

take someone?s temperature

break the rules

catch the flu




pay a fine

save electricity

keep a diary

pay attention

save energy

keep a promise

pay by credit card

save money

keep a secret

pay cash

save one?s strength

keep an appointment

pay interest

save someone a seat

keep calm

pay someone a compliment

save someone?s life

keep control

pay someone visit

save something to a disk

keep in touch

pay the bill

save space

keep quiet

pay the price

save time

keep someone?s place

pay your respects

save yourself the trouble

keep the change




come close

go abroad

get a job

come complete with

go astray

get a shock

come direct

go bad

get angry

come early

go bald

get divorced

come first

go bankrupt

get drunk

come into view

go blind

get frightened

come last

go crazy

get home

come late

go dark

get lost

come on time

go deaf

get married

come prepared

go fishing

get nowhere

come right back

go mad

get permission

come second

go missing

get pregnant

come to a compromise

go on foot

get ready

come to a decision

go online

get started

come to an agreement

go out of business

get the impression

come to an end

go overseas

get the message

come to a standstill

go quiet

get the sack

come to terms with

go sailing

get upset

come to total of

go to war

get wet

come under attack

go yellow

get worried






Business English


bang on time

annual turnover

a ball of string

dead on time

bear in mind


early 12th century

break off negotiations

a bar of chocolate

free time

cease trading


from dawn till dusk

chair a meeting

a bottle of water

great deal of time

close a deal


late 20th century

close a meeting

a bunch of carrots

make time for

come to the point


next few days

dismiss an offer

a cube of sugar

past few weeks

draw a conclusion


right on time

draw your attention to

a pack of cards

run out of time

launch a new product


save time

lay of staff

a pad of paper

spare time

go bankrupt


spend some time

go into partnership


take your time

make a loss


tell someone the time

make a profit


time goes by

market forces


time passes

sales figures


waste time

take on staff




We can now say that Collocation refers to how words go together or form fixed relationships.

            Examples: heavy rain, high temperature, scenic view, have an experience etc.

Collocations may be strong or weak. Strong collocations are where the link between the two words is quite fixed and restricted. Weak collocations are where a word can collocate with many other words.





express + a wish



Apartment, beach, car, camera, chance,

big + disappointment, fight, gun, lamp, moon, news

ocean, pain, pity, price, queue, table, umbrella,

upset, wait, window

Strong Collocations

whisk an egg

winding road


Very few words can collocate with the nous wish. This makes wish a strong collocator.




big can collocate with hundreds of words, therefore it?s a weak collocator.



curly hair

blissfully ignorant


  1. big/enormous/large + house/lorry/cup
  2. fast/shiny/expensive car/motorbike/aeroplane
  3. very/really/extremely interesting/hot/generous

brown/straight/long + fence/hair/line


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