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.
Use a dictionary specifically for English learners. Dictionaries such as the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary or the Macmillan Dictionary usually include collocations for words.
hi this is a great information.thank you
Neelam William says
Hi Melanie,thanks a lot for your wonderful teaching,really it’s very very helpful to me thanks to God for God gave me teacher like you God bless you…..
Kat T Zinguer says
As a fellow ESL teacher, I’ve got to say that you are doing an awesome job explaining things. I’ve sent the link to this page to one of my students who is struggling to make sense out of collocations. Although the way he says things is at times very cute, such as “I boiled dinner” or “I wake up and wear clothes” :)
I am definitely putting your website on my student resources list.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Kat! It’s nice to hear from a fellow teacher.
I am going to be focusing on this more in 2013. Very soon I will be relaunching my podcast, which focuses on core vocabulary, phrasal verbs & collocations:
Your podcast is really useful to me.Thank you very much^^
Hi there, Teacher!
Congratulation for your great work. I appreciate so much your teaching. You have a nice pronunciation and the topic is very interesting too. I loved the podcast because improve the reading, listening, writing all with a excellent grammar. Now I´ll learn English. Thanks for all.
thanks to give the idea about english
Thank you, Melanie!
Thank you so much for your English lessons. I just learned about the collocations how important they are to be fluent in English. I’m so happy for your information and I will be reading some more, and listen and listen some more. I already share your lessons with all my family in Mexico and they love it!! Thank you again. God Bless you.
Orlando Escalante says
Great lesson,Melanie .new words,new knowledge are enriching my english.
Thanks a lot Melanie.