Jun 15, 2016

Collocations 1: What is a collocation?

23 cards
, 65 answers
    Why learn collocations?

    Collocations can:
    • give you the most natural way to say something: smoking is strictly forbidden is more natural than smoking is strongly forbidden.
    • give you alternative ways of saying something, which may be more colorful/expressive or more precise: instead of repeating It was very cold and very dark, we can say It was bitterly cold and pitch dark.
    • improve your style in writing: instead of saying poverty causes crime, you can say poverty breeds crime; instead of saying a big meal you can say a substantial meal.

    Sometimes, a pair of words not be absolutely wrong, and people will understand what is meant, but it may not be the natural, normal collocation. If someone says I did a few mistakes they will be understood, but a fluent speaker of English would probably say I made a few mistakes.

  • Answer these questions.
    • 1. What is a collocation? Explanation
      —A collocation is a pair or group of words that are often used together. Some combinations just sound ‘wrong’ to native speakers of English. For example, the adjective fast collocates with cars, but not with a glance. You must make an effort and study for your exams but not do an effort. Did you watch TV last night? Not look at TV. This car has a very powerful engine but not strong engine. There are some ancient monuments nearby but not antique monuments.
      • units of meaning formed with two or more words
      • a pair or group of words that are often used together
      • groups of words in a fixed order that have a meaning that cannot be guessed by knowing the meaning of the individual words

    • 2. Which of these words does fast collocate with: car, food, glance, meal?
      • fast meal
      • fast car
      • fast glance
      • fast food

    • 3. Which of these are compounds? Explanation
      —Compounds are units of meaning formed with two or more words. Sometimes the words are written separately, sometimes they have a hyphen and sometimes they are written as one word. Usually the meaning of the compound can be guessed by knowing the meaning of the individual words. Examples: car park, post office, narrow-minded, shoelaces, teapot.
      • narrow-minded
      • car park
      • computer
      • teapot
      • ancient monument

    • 4. What do we call expressions like pass the buck and be over the moon? Explanation
      —Idioms are groups of words in a fixed order that have a meaning that cannot be guessed by knowing the meaning of the individual words. For example, pass the buck is an idiom meaning ‘to pass responsibility for a problem to another person to avoid dealing with it oneself’.
      • idioms
      • collocations
      • compounds

  • Make the collocations. Use the words from the list.
    • • mistakes      • engine      • breakfast      • an effort      • TV      • monument      • meal      • cold      • dark      •forbidden

      • make
        powerful
        have
        make
        watch
        ancient
        substantial
        bitterly
        pitch
        strictly

      • Are these statements about collocations true or false?
        • 1. Learning collocations will make your English sound more natural.
          • true
          • false

        • 2. Learning collocations will help you to express yourself in a variety of ways.
          • false
          • true

        • 3. Learning collocations will help you to write better English.
          • false
          • true

        • 4. Using collocations properly will get you better marks in exams.
          • false
          • true

        • 5. You will not be understood unless you use collocations properly.
          • false
          • true

      • Choose the correct category for the next expressions.
        • make a mistake
          • compound
          • collocation
          • idiom

        • pull somebody’s leg
          • compound
          • idiom
          • collocation

        • a storm in a tea cup
          • idiom
          • collocation
          • compound

        • heavy snow
          • idiom
          • compound
          • collocation

        • live music
          • collocation
          • idiom
          • compound

        • valid passport
          • compound
          • collocation
          • idiom

        • checkpoint
          • compound
          • collocation
          • idiom

        • teapot
          • compound
          • idiom
          • collocation

        • key ring
          • compound
          • collocation
          • idiom

        • bitterly disappointed
          • compound
          • idiom
          • collocation

      • Find the collocations in this text.
        • When I left university I made a decision to take up a profession in which I could be creative. I could play the guitar, but I’d never written any songs. Nonetheless I decided to become a singer-songwriter. I made some recordings but I had a rather heavy cold so they didn’t sound good. I made some more, and sent them to a record company and waited for them to reply. So, while I was waiting to become famous, I got a job in a fast-food restaurant. That was five years ago. I’m still doing the same job.

          • Answers
            left university
            made a decision
            take up a profession
            play the guitar
            written any songs
            made some recordings
            heavy cold
            become famous
            got a job

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