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:
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!
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.
So now you know what they are. In the next section, you’ll find out why you need them.
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:
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.
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:
So, now you should know how useful collocations are, and how you can find your own.
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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.