Vocabulary: Adjective, verb and noun combinations

Vocabulary: adjective, verb and noun collocations and website
Intermediate to advanced level (B1-C2)

Many English words are commonly used with certain other words and these become like mini-expressions. For example, if someone has a serious problem or is in serious difficulty, you can say ‘He is in deep trouble‘. However you can’t say ‘he is in heavy trouble‘. Only some combinations are used. Your language probably has similar combinations or collocations.

As well as ‘in deep trouble‘ you can say ‘When you woke me I was in deep sleep‘.

If you are a heavy smoker, you smoke a lot of cigarettes. You can also have heavy rain (opposite is light rain) and during the rush hour there is heavy traffic.

Some foods can have a strong taste and some people express strong opinions.

Let’s look at some verbs:

A common English expression is ‘keep calm‘. You can also keep an appointment (opposite is miss an appointment) and keep a secret.

At school, teachers want you to pay attention. You may also have to pay the price for something you have done, for example: He paid the price for drinking too much at the weekend (a bad headache on Monday morning!).

You will also come across (find or discover) related collocations, such as:

You can be heavily criticised. We can also say strongly, severely or widely criticised (depending on the meaning you want). 

In addition you will hear: heavy, strong, severe, widespread or fair (justified) criticism.

Do your best to note down and use collocations. This will make your English more ‘correct’ and natural.

You can also use this website to find collocations:  http://www.just-the-word.com/