Collocations: do you know what they mean?

For the past few weeks, our EC English Language Centres blog has been covering a number topics to help you increase your vocabulary while studying English around the world. Today it’s time for a closer look at the group of words known as “Collocations”. Ready? Of course you are! [hs_action id=”2330″] Collocations What is a collocation? You might have come across this word during an English class; a collocation is the combination of two or more words which just sound ‘right’ when used by native speakers. If you ask an English-speaker why they use those words together, there’s a good chance that they won’t know the answer! Let’s look at some examples to understand what a collocation is.   Tired of What’s wrong with this sleepy sheep? Well, insomnia is a common sleep problem. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep at night. As a result, they get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. When you are tired of something, you are bored because something has been happening repeatedly for too long. E.g. I’m so tired of doing the same thing every day. I need a change of pace. Note: When a health problem has been recognised and named, usually by a doctor, it has been diagnosed. E.g. The doctor diagnosed her with a bad case of chicken pox. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of collocations in the English language. Here are some of the most common used with examples.     Now that you know a bit more about collocations, you can review other topics like Homonyms, Homophones and Tongue Twisters,or you can take the next step and download for FREE our complete Vocabulary eBook, where you will finds all these topics, plenty of examples, exercises and much more! [hs_action id=”2330″]

Tongue Twisters

During the past two weeks we have been looking at new ways to improve our English skills by enriching Vocabulary. Today we’re going to have some fun by with popular Tongue-Twisters. Not sure what ‘tongue twisters’ are? Keep reading to find out! What is a ‘tongue twister’? A tongue twister is a sequence of words or sounds that are typically difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. One example of a tongue-twisters is ‘Peter Piper picked peck of pickled peppers.’   This is an example of a Tongue-Twister – even native English speakers can find them difficult. They are a fun way to practise your pronunciation. Say tongue-twisters out loud, but instead of concentrating on the speed, say them slowly and correctly. Here are a two more popular examples: She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore. The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure. For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.   Betty Botter bought a bit of butter. The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter And made her batter bitter. But a bit of better butter makes better batter. So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter Making Betty Botter’s bitter batter better    

6 Words to Replace ‘Nice’

Of the one-million or so words populating the English language, it’s difficult to find a word as underwhelming and over-used as the adjective ‘nice’. There’s nothing really wrong with this little group of letters, but if you’re trying to raise your language level or impress your teacher, it’s best to aim higher in terms of your vocabulary. The words you choose have their own strength, and language can be a powerful tool if you use it well – so we’re going to set you up with 6 alternatives to help you get started. Lovely We had a nice day at the beach  We had a lovely day at the beach. Picturesque The village was really nice  The village was really picturesque. Friendly She’s very nice  She’s very friendly. Delightful It was a nice show  It was a delightful show. Delicious The dinner you cooked was really nice!  The dinner you cooked was delicious! Charming Montreal is a nice city with a European vibe  Montreal is a charming city with a European vibe. Now that you know 6 new ways to boost your English skills, put it into practice! Use a new adjective in your next writing or speaking task, and remember to read regularly to expand your vocabulary. If you’re interested in learning more, download our FREE Vocabulary eBook to challenge yourself. [hs_action id=”2330″]

Vocab Review | Homophones

Last week, we learned about a group of words called Homonyms. It’s time to move on and learn about another important group – Homophones. Not sure what they are? Let´s find out now! [hs_action id=”2330″] What is a homophone? A homophone is a word which sounds the same as another word, but has a different meaning.   Ahead/ a head The two hats in the cartoon seem to be having a conversation. How strange! The homophone here can be found in the words ‘a head’. ‘Head’ is, of course, the upper part of the human body – the part of your body where the brain, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair are found. But ‘a head’ sounds exactly like the word ‘ahead’, an adverb which means ‘further forward’ or ‘towards the front of’ someone or something. Let’s look at some examples to make sure we’ve understood the difference: E.g. Go on ahead. (Move on and continue without me.) E.g. She likes to plan ahead. (She likes to know what she’s going to do before the time comes.) E.g. Move the appointment ahead from Tuesday to Monday. (The appointment was on Tuesday, but now it’s been moved to an earlier date.) E.g My team was ahead by two goals. (We were winning by 2 goals.)   Hair/hare Has he got a stray hair or a stray hare? What’s the difference? ‘Hair’ grows on your head while a ‘hare’ (pronounced the same way as hair) is an animal very much like a rabbit. The word ‘stray’ means ‘something out of place’. The boy’s hair is messy and therefore has stray strands of hair. The rabbit, however, is a pet and therefore not a stray animal and certainly not a ‘stray hare’!   Which/witch  When do we use ‘witch’ and ‘which’? What’s the difference? A ‘witch’ is … Read more

Vocab Review | Homonyms Pt. 2

Last week we learned about a special group of words called “Homonyms” and looked at a few examples. Today we’re going to continue learning about homonyms to help you long in your journey to improving your vocabulary. Horn A ‘horn’ (noun) is a ‘hard, pointed, and often curved part that grows from the top of the head of some animals’ like cows, goats and rhinos. In the cartoon, the cow has two horns on its head. E.g. The bullfighter was almost hit by the bull’s horns. But a ‘horn’ (noun) is also a ‘device that makes a loud warning sound’. Cars, for example, have horns which let people know they are there. E.g. There was a dog standing in the middle of the road. I had to blow my horn to make it move out of the way.   Smell   ‘Smell’ (noun) is used to identify a bad or unpleasant odour, but ‘to smell’ is a verb which means ‘inhaling the odour/scent through the nose’. Let’s take a look at two examples to help us understand the difference: E.g. What’s that awful smell? Someone open a window! (Noun) E.g. Smell my new perfume. Do you like it? (Verb)   Click In computing, ‘to click’ means ‘to press a button on a mouse’. The word comes from the sound that’s made when you click (it makes a clicking sound). E.g. When you have chosen the file you want, click ‘Open’. We also use ‘to click’ when talking about relationships with other people. In this sense, ‘to click’ means ‘to go or fit together with ease, to become friendly, and get along well quickly’: E.g. They clicked from their first meeting. E.g. My boyfriend and I clicked right away. We talked to each other every day and had a lot in common. But that’s not all! … Read more