Make Your English Natural with Collocations

Do you dream of speaking English like it was your first language?

Do you ever wish you could write sentences which just seem natural and complex?

Do you want to avoid using strange expressions like ‘snow cold’?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to make all of these come true!?

Well there is! And collocations are the solution. In this article, you’re going to learn:

  1. What collocations are and how they can make your life easier
  2. Why collocations might be one of the most important vocabulary items you can learn
  3. Why you need to use them

To make the most of the strategy that I’m going to teach you, you need two things:

Thing 1: A desire to speak and write using natural English

Thing 2: An internet connection

Are you ready to make your English sound more natural? Read on!

What are collocations?

I’ve got a few questions for you before we move on…

Do you like strawberries and ice cream? Yum!

How about cheese and tomato pizza? Yummmmmmm!

Okay, how about fish and watermelon cake? errrr no thanks.

These are examples of collocations. Collocations are natural, and easy to use (and sometimes delicious). Native speakers of any language can instantly identify collocations. That’s because they are common patterns of language. They are words which are commonly used together.

When you use collocations correctly, like strawberries and ice cream, they’re awesome. Your English language use will seem completely natural and unforced (this means, you’ll sound ‘normal’ to a native speaker!) – exactly what we want, right?!

However, if you use them incorrectly, like fish and watermelon cake, you will sound awkward and strange – exactly what we don’t want, right?!

That’s the good thing about them – they’re either correct or incorrect! If you know where to look and how to find them, you’ll never find unusual collocations because they don’t exist!

Not only that, but the best thing about collocations is that you can use them to create sentences. Once you know a few collocations, you will start using automatically in your writing and in your speaking.

In addition to that – knowing these common language patterns will also help your listening to improve. Imagine, you’ll be able to predict what someone says before they say it!

This makes them one of the most important things to learn when you’re learning vocabulary.

Collocations

Party pigs = nope… Party animals = yes!

So now you know what they are. In the next section, you’ll find out why you need them.

Why do you need collocations?

You can ignore and forget all about collocations… You don’t need to use them. You don’t even need to be able to read to use a language.  But if you’re serious about improving your English, then you need them and should use them.

Just answer these quick questions to see if collocations are something you need:

  • Do you want to sound more natural when you speak?
  • Do you want to be able to read faster?
  • Do you want to be able to occasionally predict what people say?
  • Do you want your writing to be more complex and impressive?
  • Do you want to learn more words easily?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions.. Collocations can help you.

That’s the power of them, and you can really improve your writing and speaking by using them.

To put it simply, I really believe that if you’re not using them, you’re missing out.

How Can You Find Collocations?

Finding them is easier than you think! Why? Because they are everywhere!

First, start looking at everything that you are reading. Are there any words which are used together a lot? If there are, they may be collocations. Here’s what you do:

  • Find words which are used together often.
  • Write them down and make a list of commonly used groups of words.
  • Go to Google and search for your word patterns. Do it like this: my collocation
  • If you get a lot of results – awesome! You’ve found a collocation!
  • If you don’t get a lot of results – keep looking! You’ll find some sooner or later!

What now?!

So, now you should know how useful collocations are, and how you can find your own.

Here’s what you should do next:

Share this article with a friend

Find your own collocations!

 

 

Share this on Facebook!

About the Author Sam

Sam is the founder and creator of English For Study. He's also lecturer in EAP/Academic English. Apart from making Academic English easy, he likes learning languages, lifting weights and eating good food.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

4 comments
Add Your Reply

LEARN ENGLISH FASTER

I'll show you how to avoid the 5 most common English learning mistakes in my 5-day class