Collocation: the other key to IELTS 7 (10 of 16)

By | January 18, 2019

Collocation: the other key to IELTS 7 (10 of 16)

Collocation is the key to getting a higher IELTS Writing and Speaking score, but it is not easy. Students often do not collocate words very well (which is why they don’t receive IELTS 7 or 8). To do this, all the parts of speech [adjectives & nouns, verbs & adverbs, prepositions & nouns, and others] must fit together in accepted patterns, stylishly and nice, while all the time conveying clear and precise meaning – like the video at the top of this page. Watch it, and notice all the parts of this complex creation blend together perfectly. This is what your writing should be like.

Well, to have ‘a sense of collocation’ (= IELTS 7), you need to have some familiarity with English. So, start reading all my pixnet posts, and getting this familiarity, right?

In the meantime, the following exercises will help.

Time to Practice

Can you ‘fix’ the following sentences by changing (or removing) the underlined word? There may be different ways to answer these. The answers will be in the next ‘collocation’ post.

  1. Cigarettes can help make more social contact with people.
  1. Modern society causes a competitive environment.
  1. Teenagers want to push the limits of the rules imposed by parents.
  1. Using guns could make unimaginable consequences.
  1. We can easily repair the law to make society safer.
  1. Mad shooters make irrecoverable harm to their victims.
  1. Banning guns can avoid these tragedies from happening.
  1. We should remove these areas, creating a real non-smoking town.

Answers to Collocation 9 of 16

Here are the answers to the previous collocation exercise. The first sentence has the wrong collocation; the second sentence has the correct one.

1.

Once, people thought marriage was a necessary process.

Once, people thought marriage was a necessary step.

Marriage is a very common step.

2.

The government needs to build a good policy to deal with this.

The government needs to establish/implement/design/determine a good policy to deal with this.

3.

Fighting back can stop the development of bullying.

Fighting back can stop bullying.

Fighting back can stop the growth/rise of bullying.

‘Development’ is a positive word, for positive things. ‘Bullying’ is a negative thing.

4.

It is impractical to ask teachers to rescue students from a malicious situation.

It is impractical to ask teachers to rescue students from a dangerous situation.

‘Malicious’ is a word to describe people, not situations.

5.

The victims can express their bravery.

The victims can show/display their bravery.

6.

The degree of bankrupcy shows a remarkable descent.

The degree of bankrupcy shows a sharp descent.

‘Remarkable’ is a positive adjective, so it can’t collocate with the negative ‘bankrupcy’. Also,

‘remarkable’ is a subjective adjective – which means that the definition depends on you, the subject. What is ‘remarkable’? How much exactly is ‘remarkable’? In Task-One Writing, there can be some subjectivity, which I call ‘natural reactions’ [See Tip 5 Part Two, p.15), but in the case of this sentence, I don’t see that opportunity. Perhaps one could write …

The degree of bankrupcy shows a serious descent.

7.

It does not matter how many space missions a country makes, ….

It does not matter how many space missions a country has,

8.

Nuclear energy is better than using coal to transfer into energy.

Nuclear energy is better than using coal to generate energy.

By the way, you can learn more about me at   www.aisielts.com .

Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed