IELTS Grammar Tip (3): Collocation
The public version of the IELTS Writing Band Descriptors mention that an IELTS 7 writer shows an ‘awareness of style and collocation’. Collocation is the act of putting the right words together. For example, in Chinese, you can say …
- Big rain
- Big wind
- Big noise
But in English, we would say …
- Heavy rain
- Strong wind
- Loud noise.
These second pairs of word ‘collocate’ together more naturally, and knowing this collocation takes time. The collocation could be …
- Verb + noun (launch a spacecraft)
- Adjective + Noun (financial priorities)
- Adverb + verb (ultimately establish)
- Adverb + adjective (seemingly innocuous)
There are many examples and exercises on my website, where this issue is explored at length (click Good Collocation to see that), but I’ll add a few new examples here (taken at random from recent students’ essays). Can you see the incorrect collocation? Can you correct the sentences?
- Obtain more concerns
- To encounter the future
- I deeply agree that
- Provoke creativity
- Some opinions feel
- Repair heritage
- It is substantially expensive.
- The radiation has influenced thousands of people.
- Mosquitoes happen everywhere.
- … because of dengue disease.
Remember, being able to do this correctly is a sign of an IELTS 7! See the next post for the answers.