Common Collocations


A collocation is a combination of words commonly used together; the simplest way to describe collocations is to say that they ‘just sound right’ to native English speakers. Other combinations that may mean the same thing would seem ‘unnatural’. Collocations include noun phrases like ‘stiff wind’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’, phrasal verbs such as ‘to get together’ and other stock phrases such as ‘the rich and famous’

It is important to learn collocations because they are essential for the naturalisation of one’s speech. Besides, they broaden one’s scope for expression.

Below is a list of collocations to help you get started and the ones that I have used in my new book 9 分达人 are highlighted.  This is NOT an exhaustive list, simply some of the more popular ones that can be used.

Do me a favour
Do the cooking
Do the housework
Do the shopping
Do the washing up
Do your best
Do your hair

Have a good time
Have a clue
Have a drink
Have a crack at
Have a holiday
Have a problem
Have a laugh
Have lunch
Have sympathy

Break the law
Break a leg
Break a promise
Break a record
Break someone’s heart
Break the ice
Break the news to someone
Break the rules

Take a break
Take a chance
Take a look
Take a nap
Take a seat
Take over
Take an exam
Take my time
Take someone’s place

Make a difference
Make a plan
Make the best of
Make a mistake
Make a noise
Make an effort
Make money
Make progress
Make room
Make a choice

Catch the bus
Catch a ball
Catch a cold
Catch my eye
Catch fire
Catch sight of
Catch someone’s attention
Catch the flu

Pay respect
Pay a fine
Pay attention
Pay by credit card
Pay cash
Pay interest
Pay someone a visit
Pay the bill
Pay the price

Keep the change
Keep an eye on
Keep a secret
Keep track
Keep calm
Keep in touch
Keep quiet
Keep someone’s place

Save yourself the trouble
Save electricity
Save energy
Save money
Save someone a seat
Save someone’s life
Save something to a disk
Save time

Go bald
Go abroad
Go astray
Go bad
Go bankrupt
Go blind
Go crazy
Go fishing
Go mad
Go missing
Go online
Go out of business
Go overseas
Go quiet
Go sailing
Go to war

Come up with
Come close
Come into its own
Come early
Come first
Come into view
Come last
Come late
Come prepared
Come right back
Come to a decision
Come together
Come to mind
Come to a standstill
Come to terms with
Come to a total of

Get the sack
Get a life
Get a job
Get along with
Get divorced
Get drunk
Get home
Get lost
Get married
Get me into gear
Get out
Get started
Get lucky
Get upset
Get wet
Get together

Bang on time
Spend time
Free time
Daily basis
Peak time
Early/late 15th century
Make time for
Next few days
Past few weeks
Right on time
Run out of time
Time goes by
Waste time
Modern Day

Current affairs
Clean up
Hand in
Depend on
Out and about
One of a kind