Words that go together like pepper and salt
carole/ marzo 3, 2020/ Blog Carole Brown Idiomas, Business Themes, Exams, Grammar, Pronunciation, Reading, Speaking, Technology, Vocabulary, Writing/ 0 comments
The word collocation sounds like a clumsy word and sometimes hard to pronounce for non-natives but unfortunately in English we cannot get away from them as they come up everywhere! Simply put, collocations are words that are found together. For example, if we are talking about meeting a friend at the station, we will either go to the bus station or to the train station depending on the location chosen. When differentiating one food from another, we might encourage our children to eat Healthy food and discourage then from eating Fast food or Junk food When going for a walk in the countryside, we may want to take a brisk walk or a slow walk depending on our mood or fitness level.
These word partnerships help us to give more specific information about the subject in question. Taking adjectives for example we may want to describe the weather in more detail. It may be a sunny day or a dull day. By using these adjectives, we can immediately conjure up an image of the sun or clouds and we know exactly what sort of weather to expect when we go out that day. Adverbs, like adjectives give us additional information. When describing how someone works, we might say that the person works diligently and efficiently. These adverbs help us imagine how that person works. Some verbs partner up with prepositions to form fixed expressions. For example, fall into debt (owe money) or get into trouble (do something wrong).
Now that we know what collocations are, why give them importance? Second language learners are always looking for ways to extend and expand their vocabulary. Collocations are a means to help them express themselves in alternative and richer ways. By using them, their language can also sound more natural and more easily understood. Reading materials can also provide an excellent opportunity to see collocations in context via a specific topic (Time, Weather, Money, Family, etc). It is worth investing the time and effort to learn collocations as they can help you sound more natural and fluent. Not only can you learn them by topic, but you can also learn them by specific words. For example, Take: take a shower, take a chance, take an exam, take holidays.
It is worth noting that there are collocations known as strong collocations. These are word partnerships that are expected to come together such as combinations with make and do. For example, you make a cup of tea, but you do the ironing. Topics hitting the headlines today can also be collocation rich. Unfortunately, we cannot get away from the hot topic of the Coronavirus, which is currently being described as pandemic, contagious, infectious and deadly.