What are business collocations? And why learn them? Collocations are pairs of words that frequently occur together. Collocations are not like grammar. They depend on frequency rather than fixed rules. So, using an example Professor Michael McCarthy, the University of Nottingham, UK, gives us, the word ‘blond’ is frequently used to describe hair but it would sound odd to describe a car as blond.
This example suggests why learning collocations is important. Learning collocations makes the language we produce sound more ‘natural’ by helping us avoid odd-sounding combinations of words (e.g. ‘a blond car’). But even more importantly, learning collocations helps a great deal in developing fluency.
In our own language, we don’t speak by combining single words one at a time. Rather, we have ready-made combinations of words in mind that we’ve acquired through hearing or reading them so often. Learning collocations in another language allows us to automatically use these combinations, and in so doing move towards the kind of fluency we enjoy in our own language.
Introductory collocation quiz
Here’s a quick quiz that highlights some business collocations with some of the most commonly used verbs in English.
Complete each of the 10 sentences with one of the following verbs:
do / get / make / take
You’ll have noticed how often ‘get’ can be used. For example, in this activity:
- get experience
- get promotion
- get a qualification
So, the verb ‘get’ is very useful! However, if you need to be more formal, try to find alternatives, such as ‘gain’ or obtain’. This will also help you expand your vocabulary if that is one of your aims.
Business collocations video
In the short video below you’ll see 30 collocations that you may hear and want to use in your work or studies. There are 5 groups of collocations. Beat the countdown to guess the one word the completes each group.
Business collocations quizzes
How quickly can you match the 8 business collocations from the video? Read the examples of how they are used after you match each one.
How quickly can you find the 10 business collocations from the video? Note that this activity works best on devices with large screens (i.e., laptops)
Here’s just a little help for you:
- _ _ _ _ _ a business
- _ _ _ _ _ _ and demand
- plan _ _ _ _ _
- company _ _ _ _ _ _
- generate _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- marketing _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- come _ _ _ _ _ a plan
- short _ _ _ _ _ _
- _ _ _ _ _ _ media _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- _ _ _ _ _ a company