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A collocation is made up of two or more words that are commonly used together in English. There are different kinds of collocations in English. Strong collocations are word pairings that are expected to come together. Good collocation examples of this type of word pairing are combinations with 'make' and 'do'. You make a cup of tea, but do your homework. Collocations are very common in business settings when certain nouns are routinely combined with certain verbs or adjectives. For example, draw up a contract, set a price, conduct negotiations, etc.

This feature points to all the vocabulary learning pages on this site which focus on collocation examples. Each page points out key collocations for various areas and includes a number of collocation examples to provide context.

Verb Collocations

These sheets provide a matching game with some of the most common verb + noun collocations used in everyday situations. Here are some examples of the types of verb collocations you will learn:

to feel free
to come prepared
to save time
to find a replacement
to make progress
to do the washing up

Common Expressions

Collocations are often used as short expressions to describe how someone feels about a situation. In this case, collocations can be used in the adjective form, or also as emphatic expressions using an intensifier and a verb. Here are a few examples using some of these collocation examples:

We'd like to positively encourage you to buy this stock.
I deeply regret the loss of your loved one.
Tom's in an utter fury over the misunderstanding with his wife.
He went to a great length to explain the situation.


The explanation pages on this website cover the big grammar topics, such as verb tenses, the articles, the passive. With such topics it is appropriate to use the words correct and incorrect. For example, it is incorrect to say: My father don't like German food or Do you have dog?

However, there are aspects of language where correct/incorrect are not the right terms. Consider the sentence: She is completely beautiful. Many native English speakers would say that the expression completely beautiful does not sound quite right; that incredibly beautiful or extremely beautiful sound better. But the expression is certainly not incorrect in the way that Do you have dog? is.

This aspect of usage (the expected combination of words) is called collocation. A grammarian would say that incredibly and beautiful collocate more strongly than completely and beautiful. There are no collocation rules that the student of English can sensibly learn. He or she must be prepared to use a dictionary in each case to find out about the expected word combinations, or to ask a native speaker.

An excellent modern alternative is to type the word combination into Google and see how many results are returned. In the example above completely beautiful got 36,100 hits, whereas incredibly beautiful got 861,000. It is very clear which is the stronger collocation (more common usage).

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