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Collocations

Collocations are conventional word combinations that sound natural to native English speakers. For example, we say a golden opportunity, but not a golden chance. Similarly, we say 'thanks a lot', but not 'thank you a lot'.

More examples are given below:

A burning desire (BUT NOT a blazing row)
A blazing row (BUT NOT a burning row)
A heavy smoker (BUT NOT an indulgent smoker)
Change one's mind (BUT NOT Change one's thoughts)
Slightly annoyed (BUT NOT slightly interesting)
A devoted friend
An indulgent mother
A crashing bore

Collocations are idiomatic in a way. It is easy to understand the meaning of collocations, but a foreign learner may find it difficult to produce them correctly.

A learner who uses wrong word combinations for an idea may still be understood, but he or she will not sound natural.

All languages have large numbers of collocations. Some English examples are given below:

have breakfast / have lunch / have supper
have dinner / have tea / have coffee / have a drink
have a meal / have a bath / have a wash / have a shave
have a shower / have a rest / have a sleep / have a dream
have a good time / have a bad day / have a nice evening
have a day off / have a holiday / have a good journey
have a good flight / have a good trip / have a talk
have a word with somebody / have a chat
have a conversation / have a row / have a quarrel
have a fight / have a swim / have a walk
have a ride / have a dance / have a game of tennis / chess / badminton etc.
have a try / have a go / have a look

Notes

Americans usually say take a bath / shower / rest / swim / walk etc.

get washed / get dressed / get lost / get drowned
get engaged / get married / get divorced

Go / come for a swim
go / come for a walk
go / come for a run
go / come for a ride
go / come for a drive
go / come for a sail
go / come for a drink
go for a bath
go for a shower

take a break / take a chance / take a look / take a rest
take a seat / take a taxi / take an exam / take notes
take someone's place / take someone's temperature

break a leg / break a promise / break a record
break a window / break someone's heart / break the ice
break the law / break the news to someone
break the rules

catch a ball / catch a bus / catch a chill
catch a cold / catch a thief / catch fire
catch sight of / catch someone's attention
catch someone's eye / catch the flu

keep a promise / keep a secret / keep an appointment
keep calm / keep control / keep in touch
keep quiet / keep someone's place / keep the change

fall ill / fall asleep / fall in love

come true / come right

go astray / go bad / go bald / go bankrupt
go blind / go crazy / go dark / go deaf / go fishing
go mad/ go missing / go on foot / go online
go out of business / go overseas / go quiet
go sailing / go to war / go yellow
go climbing / dancing / fishing / hunting / riding / sailing
go shooting / shopping / swimming / walking

See Also Common word combinations with do and make

Sections In This Article
Common Difference between Yes and No New!
Common Difference between Whose and Who's New!
Common Difference between Why and Why not New!
Common Difference between Would and Used to New!
Common Difference between When and If New!
Common Difference between In the Way and On the Way New!

 

 

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