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Types of Collocations

There are several different types of collocation made from combinations of verb, noun, adjective etc. Some of the most common types are:

  • Adverb + Adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied)
  • Adjective + Noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy)
  • Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger)
  • Noun + Verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout)
  • Verb + Noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide)
  • Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears)
  • Verb + Adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly)

Sample Collocations

There are several different types of collocation. Collocations can be adjective + adverb, noun + noun, verb + noun and so on. Below you can see seven main types of collocation in sample sentences.

1. adverb + adjective

  • Invading that country was an utterly stupid thing to do.
  • We entered a richly decorated room.
  • Are you fully aware of the implications of your action?

2. adjective + noun

  • The doctor ordered him to take regular exercise.
  • The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage.
  • He was writhing on the ground in excruciating pain.

3. noun + noun

  • Let's give Mr Jones a round of applause.
  • The ceasefire agreement came into effect at 11am.
  • I'd like to buy two bars of soap please.

4. noun + verb

  • The lion started to roar when it heard the dog barking.
  • Snow was falling as our plane took off.
  • The bomb went off when he started the car engine.

5. verb + noun

  • The prisoner was hanged for committing murder.
  • I always try to do my homework in the morning, after making my bed.
  • He has been asked to give a presentation about his work.

6. verb + expression with preposition

  • We had to return home because we had run out of money.
  • At first her eyes filled with horror, and then she burst into tears.
  • Their behaviour was enough to drive anybody to crime.

7. verb + adverb

  • She placed her keys gently on the table and sat down.
  • Mary whispered softly in John's ear.
  • I vaguely remember that it was growing dark when we left.