A collocation is a combination of two or more words that are commonly used together, in a way that sounds natural to a native English speaker.
Learn the Words That Go Together.
What are collocations?
a waste of money
a collection of
front and back
in the middle of
a soccer player
smoke a cigarette
eat breakfast / have breakfast
throw a party
All of word combinations listed above sound ‘right’ and natural to a native English speaker. While a speaker of French or Spanish might say “the room of the hotel,” that sounds odd to an English speaker. The natural English combination is ‘hotel room.’
Instead of saying, “I
made a birthday party for my son,” which is not correct in English, say “I threw a birthday party for my son.” ‘Throw’ and ‘party’ go together in English.
Why are collocations important?
To be fluent in English, you need to know which words go together. Learning the correct combination of words will help you sound more natural.
When English learners translate directly from their language into English, they often say unnatural word combinations, such as ‘
make exercise‘ or ‘ take breakfast‘ or ‘I married with him.’ All of those combinations are incorrect and unnatural in English.
How can I learn collocations?
Read, read, and read some more. Listen, listen, and listen some more. Notice the words that are used together. Memorize groups of words instead of just a single word.