Mastering Collocations: 27 Essential Phrases

Unlocking the Power: Mastering Collocations with 27 Must-Know Phrases

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Derek Cupp

By Derek Cupp

If you’ve ever grappled with the intricacies of English, you’ll know that mastering collocations can be tricky. These word pairings are a vital part of sounding natural in your conversations and writings. Today, I’m going to share my top 27 must-know phrases that will help you unlock the power of collocations.

These often-used combinations may seem arbitrary at first glance, but there’s a certain logic to them. They’re deeply ingrained in native speakers’ vocabularies and mastering them can significantly improve your language skills. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of these essential phrases.

Remember, learning collocations isn’t just about memorizing words – it’s about understanding how they work together to convey meaning. So let’s get started on this journey towards fluency in English!

The Magic of Mastering Collocations

Mastering collocations isn’t just about learning phrases; it’s unlocking a power. It’s like finding the secret code to fluent English conversation. If you’ve ever wondered why “fast food” sounds right but “quick food” seems off, you’re already on your way to understanding collocations.

Collocation is all about how words naturally fit together in English. These are word pairs that English speakers use so often they’ve become part of the fabric of the language itself. We say “take a shower”, not “do a shower”. We make mistakes, not do mistakes. When we understand these patterns and start using them ourselves, our English becomes more natural and fluent.

But hold up – mastering collocations isn’t just memorizing phrases. It’s understanding the nuances in their meanings and applying them correctly in different contexts.

Take for example these two common verbs: ‘make’ and ‘do’. At first glance, they seem interchangeable – but are they really? Let’s look at some examples:




Make a decision

Do homework


Make progress

Do an exercise


Make money

Do housework

As you can see from this table, while ‘make’ and ‘do’ have similar overarching meanings, their usage differs based on context.

And here’s another thing: mastering collocations can also help improve your pronunciation! That’s because when we’re speaking quickly, words in common phrases often get smushed together into one sound unit (think “gonna” instead of “going to”). This process is called lexical bundling, and it’s another reason why native speakers find certain word combinations more natural than others.

So there it is – the magic of mastering collocations. It’s about making your English feel natural to both you and the listener. Whether you’re aiming for fluency or simply want to polish up your conversational skills, getting comfortable with these must-know phrases will take your English communication skills to new heights.

Unveiling the Power: 27 Must-Know Phrases

Unlocking the power of language often comes down to mastering collocations, those familiar combinations of words that native speakers use without thinking. If you’re like me, you may have struggled with them at first. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Allow me to guide you through 27 must-know phrases that will help boost your English fluency.

To start off, let’s talk about ‘make a difference’. This phrase is typically used when talking about having an impact or effect on something or someone. For instance, “Volunteering in my community really makes a difference.”

Next up is ‘take advantage of’, which isn’t as negative as it might sound! It actually means making good use of resources available to us. An example would be, “I’m taking advantage of the free online courses offered during quarantine.”

Here are some other phrases that you’ll find extremely useful:

  • ‘Catch someone’s eye’

  • ‘Break the ice’

  • ‘Get out of hand’

  • ‘On thin ice’

Each one has its own unique flavor and usage.




Catch someone’s eye

To attract attention

The bright red coat caught my eye in the store

Break the ice

To initiate social interaction

She told a joke to break the ice at the party

Get out of hand

Something becoming uncontrollable

The situation got out of hand when they started arguing

On thin ice

In a risky situation

After coming late three times this week, he’s really on thin ice

Now remember, practice makes perfect! Try incorporating these phrases into your everyday conversations and before long, I guarantee they’ll start rolling off your tongue naturally.

Remember what we discussed about active learning? It applies here too! Instead of passively reading these phrases and their meanings, why not actively engage yourself by writing sentences using each phrase? Trust me; this active engagement will go a long way in internalizing these collocations.

Don’t forget there’s no rush – take your time exploring each phrase and its nuances. And most importantly – enjoy this journey into mastering English collocations!

These phrases are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much more to explore! Stay tuned for more language insights from yours truly.

Conclusion: Unlock Your Potential with Collocations

Having explored the ins and outs of collocations, it’s clear how they can transform your English. They’re not just a fancy linguistic concept; they’re practical tools that can elevate your language skills to new heights.

Mastering collocations has significant benefits. You’ll find conversations flow more naturally as you use phrases native speakers commonly pair together. It makes comprehension easier too because we often process language in chunks, not word by word.

Here are some key takeaways from our discussion:

  • Collocations boost fluency and authenticity in your English.

  • They help others understand you better and make your speech sound natural.

  • Mastering them requires practice but the effort is well worth it.

Let’s look at a few examples of strong collocation usage:



Make a party

Throw a party

Do a decision

Make a decision

Remember, these aren’t hard and fast rules – there’s room for creativity in language! However, knowing common collocations will give you confidence in your communication.

In short, unlocking the power of collocations isn’t about memorizing lists – it’s about understanding how words work together to convey meaning. So keep practicing, stay curious, and watch as your English skills flourish!

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