What Is a Collocation?A collocation is a group of words that sound natural when used together. For example:
- fast train (Using "fast" with "train" sounds natural to a native speaker. This is an example of a collocation.)
- quick train (unnatural) (This is not technically wrong, but using "quick" with "train" sounds unnatural, even though the words are perfectly understandable.)
Table of Contents
- Examples of Collocation
- Types of Collocation
- Why Understanding Collocation Is Important
- Test Time!
Examples of CollocationHere are some more examples:
|catch a cold
|receive a cold
Types of CollocationCollocations exist because, over time, some words have developed natural partners. Here are six common formats for collocations with examples:
- Janet is not fully aware of the situation.
- The boss was extremely interested in your proposal.
- Your suggestion is utterly ridiculous.
- It was an unusual chain of events.
- I have bought you a bar of chocolate.
- John received a round of applause.
- John gave a presentation to the senior managers.
- Janet caught a cold on the plane.
- He committed crimes to feed himself.
- I remember vaguely what happened before the crash.
- John whispered softly into her ear.
- Janet waved frantically as the train left.
- The snow fell all night.
- The dog barks when the doorbell rings.
- The doctor saw Janet yesterday. (This means the doctor had an appointment with Janet yesterday.)
- The heavy rain has caused a lot of problems in the village.
- Janet has a keen interest in politics.
- Opening the car door was a nice gesture.
Collocations help with speed because our brains find it easier to process set phrases rather than computing through every single word for meaning.