What are Collocations?
Collocations are groups of two or more words which are generally used together. A collocation is therefore a fixed combination of words which are used in order to convey a specific meaning. For example, the words ‘make’ and ‘belief’ are used together in order to mean
Consider the following examples:
Correct Incorrect Break the law Crack the law Crack the exam Break the exam
‘break’ and ‘crack’ are synonyms. However, we always use ‘break’ and not ‘crack’ with ‘law’. Similarly, ‘crack’ is always used with ‘code’. This predetermined combination of words is known as collocation.
Correct Incorrect Fast food Quick food Quick witted Fast witted Catch a cold Grab a cold Grab a bite Catch a bite Watch TV Look TV Look into the matter Watch into the matter Importance of Collocations
A sound knowledge of collocations can be helpful in learning the vocabulary of the language. It helps the learner grasp the finer nuances of the usage of the language. It enriches the language by giving the speaker alternative ways of expressing the same idea. Example: Types of Collocations
Following are some of the combinations of collocations in English:
Adjective and noun rich vocabulary, stark contrast, heavy traffic, sharp features Verb and noun accept the offer, brew coffee, entrust responsibility, cry wolf, hold forth Noun and noun fuel tank, post office, soap bar, printer cartridge, round of applause Verb and adverb cry bitterly, fail miserably, cost dearly, speak softly, guess correctly
Adverb and verb happily married, highly paid, grossly misunderstood, vaguely remember Verb with preposition and noun beamed with pride, take after someone, burst into tears Noun and verb flowers bloomed, plane taxied, bomb went off
Some Collocations Based on Common Verbs Make
Make arrangements: The staff made arrangements for the picnic. Make a choice: The customer has already made a choice. Make progress: Raju made great progress in his new business. Make an effort: She made an effort to reach out to her friends. Make a contribution: The tenants made contributions to the charity. Make a call: Can I use your phone to make a call? Make a change: She is ready to make changes in the presentation. Make a comment: Lalitha made a comment on how companies can usher in a change. Do
Do ones best: I will try to do my best to find your lost pet. Do business: It is risky to do business with him. Do harm: The humid weather did more harm than good. Do damage: The rumours did considerable damage to his reputation. Do (someone) a favour: My friend did me a favour by letting me lend his house. Do good: The coastal air did her health some good. Do research: The team did research on the deteriorating quality of the city’s air. Do time (spend time in jail): He did time for an offence he committed in the 80s. Do the dishes: Manu is in charge of doing the dishes. Have
Have an advantage: The company had an advantage over their competitors. Have an appointment: Christina left early since she had an appointment with the doctor. Have fun: The children had fun at the village fair. Have an argument: The tenants had an argument over the destroyed flowerbed. Have a breakthrough: Tim had a breakthrough during his time at the medical school. Have a care (be careful): He warned him before he left, “Have a care.” Have a conversation: Meena and Dev had a conversation over coffee. Have a grudge: Sachin had a grudge against me over a trivial argument we had in school. Have a heart: How could you be so cruel! Have a heart! Collocations Based on Body
Collocation Meaning Usage Have an eye for Good at noticing She has an eye for details. Keep an eye on Observe Keep an eye on the students lest they copy. Foot the bill Pay the bill The one who comes late foots the bill. Go hand in hand Go together Lying goes hand in hand with stealing. Head something Lead Marina headed the team. Nod one’s head Agree She nodded her head in approval. Shake one’s head Disagree Geeta shook her head at her son’s insolence. Raise an eyebrow Suspicious His sudden disappearance raised many eyebrows. Clear one’s throat Draw attention The teacher cleared her throat in class. Fingers crossed Hope Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the results. Collocations Based on Movement
Collocation Usage Walked straight into He walked straight into the library. Run into George ran into a debt. Take off The guests took off after the lunch. Push (something) across Martin pushed the bag across the table. Charge at The bull charged at the matador. Jumped at Manisha jumped at the opportunity. Back down The enemies backed down in the face of opposition. Hit the rocks Mr and Mrs Sharma’s marriage hit the rocks. Collocations Based on Thinking
Collocation Usage Think out of the box We need fresh ideas, so please think out of the box. Nagging doubt Meena had a nagging doubt whether she locked the door. Fuel speculations The fight fuelled speculations that they are no longer friends. Think deeply I thought deeply about her question. Fertile imagination Little children have a fertile imagination. Strongly believe Arjun strongly believes that the watchman is the thief. Bear in mind Please bear in mind that you will have to be vigilant. Wrestle with a thought Lata wrestled with the thought of leaving her family. Collocations Based on Business
Collocation Usage Record profits The company announced record profits this year. Pay rich dividends A good decision will pay rich dividends later.
Collocation Usage Make a profit The company made profit in the last quarter. Dismiss an offer The management dismissed Ganesh’s offer. Go bankrupt Yasir went bankrupt after his last venture. Impose a duty The government should impose a higher duty on aluminium. Widespread assumption Rachna challenged the widespread assumption that girls are weak. Move up the ladder Ramesh knew how to move up the social ladder through glib talk. Fierce competition The product faced fierce competition from local players. Collocations Based on Education and Knowledge
Collocation Usage Gifted person She is a gifted person since she possesses so many qualities. Thirst for knowledge What drives him is his thirst for knowledge. Fight illiteracy The new government strives to fight illiteracy. Higher education Maria left for USA for higher education. Vocational education The colleges imparted vocational education to the students. Pass an examination Krishna passed the examination with flying colours.