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Collocations: Practice

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powerful engine
[NOT strong engine]
pass the buck
to pass responsibility for a problem to another person to avoid dealing with it oneself
strictly forbidden
[NOT strongly forbidden] : more natural than "smoking is strongly forbidden"
very cold
bitterly cold
very dark
pitch dark
breed crime
instead of saying "poverty causes crime", say "poverty breeds crime"
substantial meal
instead of "big meal"
bored stiff
extremely bored
give a ring
give me a phone call
get off the bus
alight from the bus
get off their bicycles
people who go onto someone's land or enter their building without permission will be taken to court
throw away/container used for storing or putting subjects in
dispose of_______ in the receptacle provided
axe jobs
make stuff redundant [no longer needed]
slash prices
cuts prices drastically
spending will rocket
increase dramatically
crack down
start dealing with it in a more severe way
ask questions
to quiz someone
outbreak hits
something unpleasant starts to happen somewhere
to submit a tender
present a document offering to do a job and stating the price
to raise capital
get money to put into a business
to go into partnership with someone
agree to start or run a business with someone
to start a business
to start up a business
prime suspect
the person who is mostly accused of a crime
Highly is used with probability words.
highly successful/competitive
Absolutely and utterly [slightly more formal] combine with adj with very extreme meanings.
Absolutely ridiculous/appalled
carries a feeling of deep sadness; used more in writing than in conversation
bitterly complain/cry/weep/resent/disappinting
collocates words with feelings; more in writing than in conversation
deeply shocked/unhappy
collocates with unbelievable or unreasonable
ridiculously cheap/high/long/early
with verbs, that relate to having an option
strongly recommend/dislike
make arrangements for
The school can make arrangements for pupils with special needs
make a contribution to
She made a useful contribution to the discussion
do damage
The storm did some damage to our roof
Scouts and guides are supposed to do someone a good turn every day
do someone a good turn/a favour
do your hair
No, I'm not ready. I haven't done my hair yet
Go is used for changes in people's personality, appearance and physical abilities
go mad/bald/grey/blind/deaf
Go is often used for sudden, usually negative changes
went red/dark
Turned gold
Turn collocates with colors
become involved
I would liked to become involved in raising money or charity
fell ill
She fell ill and was taken to hospital
fell silent
Everyone fell silent when they heard the shocking news
[NOT get]
had/suffered a heard attack
[NOT get]
have a child
going crazy
[NOT getting crazy]
had a baby
In June, I had a baby
I'll explain what to do and then you can have a go/try
have a go/try
take a holiday
We're so glad we decided to take a holiday
took a liking to
we got off on a village when we saw one that we took a liking to
taken a dislike to
No point in staying somewhere where the boss has taken a dislike to you!
pay a compliment
I was trying to pay her a compliment but she misunderstood
pay your [last] respects
At a funeral people pay their last respects to the person who has died
pay tribute
When Jack retired, his boss made a speech paying tribute to all he had done for the company
start my car
[NOT begin] start is used for engines and vehicles
universe began
Begin is preferred in more formal and abstract contexts
big problems
[NOT large problems]
Large size
[NOT big size]
ended with
The film ended with the hero dying
with no one
single parent
Solitary figure
one person on their own
sole survivor
only survivor
used for cargoes, lorries, vans, ships, etc. and for weapons
collocates with words for things
used with abstract nouns that suggest benefit to the 'gainer'
gain recognition/reputation/publicity/advantage
used mainly with abstract nouns
achieve success/goals/aims
take clothes
[NOT carry]
[NOT wear]
carry mobile phone
spend money
[NOT use]
become more relaxed or cheerful than it was
atmosphere/mood lightens
expression darkens
become unhappy, often because they are feeling angry
ideas flow
progress easily
suggest lots of people moving smoothly.
people pour/stream somewhere
people tickle
suggest a few people moving slowly
suggests continuous movement
stream of visitors/traffic
heated debate
people disagree in an angry way
fiery temper
get suddenly angry
people became angry with each other
temper/violence/trouble flare
there is a lot of it and it is spectacular
blaze of glory/publicity
Unbroken sunshine
only sunshine, no clouds in the sky "Have had unbroken sunshine ever since we arrived
Scorching hot
extremely hot "though in the middle of the day it's just too scorching hot to do anything but lie on the beach
Soaking up the sunshine
enjoying the sunshine "lie on the beach soaking up the sunshine."
Pouring with rain
It's been _______ all day.
Torrential rain
heavy rain "In fact I've never seen such _______"
Soak to the skin
very wet "It's freezing cold in the tent- we all got _______ed _______"
A break in the clouds
Every half hour we look out of the tent hoping for _______
Rain heavily
It _______ed _______ All day yesterday but it's dry at the moment
Thick cloud
There's _______ on the sky.
Looks like rain
There's thick cloud, though, and it certainly _______
Weather deteriorates
weather is getting worse "The _______ Is likely to _______ later on today"
Thick/dense fog
There is a _______ on the motorway
Patches of fog
small areas of fog/mist "There are _______ on the east coast but these should lift by midday"
A blanket of fog/mist
thicker and more extensive areas of fog/mist "There is _______ on the west coast"
Heavy/fresh/crisp/thick driving snow
crisp snow= snow that is fresh and hard "The _______ Is lovely and _______ this morning"
Biting winds
very cold winds "He shivered his skin touched the _______"
Light winds
soft winds "The wind was _______ this morning"
Wind picks up
wind gets stronger "The wind was light this morning but it's _______ing .. now and will be strong by the evening"
Freak storm
very unusual or unexpected "_______ hit the south-west of England"
Gale-force winds
extremely strong winds "_______-_______ caused a lot of damage to property"
Roofs were torn off
A number of buildings were destroyed, and roofs were _______
Fences were blown down
A number of buildings were destroyed, and fences were _______
Burst their banks
rivers flooded "Several rivers burst their banks after a storm"