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Collocations...huh?

What is a collocation? Well, in grammar terms, it means two words that must go together, specifically a verb + a noun. Think of them like best friends, or an inseparable couple. They always want to be together, and if they're not, well, the sentence won't be correct. The trouble with these word combinations is that there are so many of them that it's really not feasible to try to memorize them all. Thankfully, there are some general rules that you can follow that will help you in most cases, and for the rest, well, practice makes better!


 

Do - go - play + sport/activity

Do - a sport or activity that you do only with your body

Go - a sport or activity that ends with -ing

Play - a sport that requires a ball or similar

​Yoga and pilates

Karate (and all martial arts)

Exercise or physical activity

Sit ups/push ups

Sport

Fencing* (schermo)

​Running or jogging

Biking or cycling

Skiing and snowboarding

Walking, hiking, trekking

Surfing, kite/windsurfing

Bowling

Sky diving

Roller/ice skating

Golfing*

Swimming

Skateboarding

Horseback riding

​Basketball

Football

Volleyball

Rugby

Tennis, padel, squash

Hockey

Badminton

Baseball

Golf*

Table tennis

Water polo

Catch (giocare a palla)


 

The most commonly used collocations


As I said earlier, it would be impossible to list every collocation here, but I'll give you some of the most commonly used ones here below. The good thing is that many nouns that are similar use the same verb, so even if I only list one noun, if it has a synonym, it probably uses the same verb, for example, "make noise" and "make a sound".

Routine vocabulary and collocations

​I get up very early in the morning and do some exercise. Then I have/take a shower and have/eat breakfast. I make my bed and sometimes I do the laundry. I have lessons in the morning, and when I finish, I prepare/make lunch and take a short break, but I never have a nap. In the afternoon I have more lessons, and when I finish, I go to the gym to do Muy Thai. Afterwards, I have dinner and do the dishes. On the weekends, I often go trekking or walking with my dog. Sometimes I see/meet my friends. When I can, I take a trip to another city to go sightseeing. During the summer, I often catch/take a plane to go and visit my family or friends. I love having the chance/opportunity to visit them!


 

So, while this post is far from exhaustive, I hope it's made you stop to think about the importance of using the correct verb with the correct noun. Often, people want to translate directly from their first language, which sometimes works, but many times it doesn't. This is especially tricky with the English verbs do and make. If you'd like to review the difference between these two verbs, check out this post: Make or do? Over the next few weeks, as you hopefully start to take advantage of the winter weather and perhaps having a little more free time, think about the activities you will do and what verbs go with them!

 

Glossary

  • inseparable: two things, animals or people that are always together

  • feasible: synonym for possible

  • do the laundry: wash and dry clothes

  • do the dishes: clean plates, cups, silverware etc.

  • exhaustive: synonym for complete



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