Collocation: the other key to IELTS 7 (4 of 16)

collocation the other key to ielts 7 4 of 16

Collocation: the other key to IELTS 7 (4 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. Some people commit severe crimes.
  2. This makes a vicious circle.
  3. Fighting back will just stimulate the bullies.
  4. Lying will lose the relationship.
  5. Smoking allows people to approve of themselves.
  6. Army life can train their courage.
  7. Education is made by good teachers.
  8. People should step out for their rights.
  9. If scientists owned more knowlege about space, they could …

Answers to Collocation 3 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.


Government can remind people of the risk.

Government can warn people of the risk.


Army life makes interaction between people.

Army life creates/provides interaction between people.


The government has problems depositing nuclear waste.

The government has problems storing nuclear waste.


Earth may not be available for human life.

Earth may not be suitable for human life.


This enhances the cost of living.

This increases/raises the cost of living.


Space missions could inspire the development of technology.

Space missions could stimulate the development of technology.

Only people can be inspired.


People need to realise this planet and its environment.

People need to understand this planet and its environment.

This is Chinese English. In English, we have two verbs: realise and understand, and they are used in slightly different ways. In Chinese, there is only one verb, used more flexibly.


People need to leave such violent behaviour.

People need to stop/abandon/reject such violent behaviour.


Some countries have set rockets into space.

Some countries have launched rockets into space.

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