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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.


A collocation is two or more words that often go together. These combinations just sound "right" to native English speakers, who use them all the time. On the other hand, other combinations may be unnatural and just sound "wrong". They may also have their own meaning. Some examples of collocations are; “sit up”, “place value”, “draw a line”, “fish and chips”, “shoes and socks”, “fast food”, and “a quick meal”.

Knowledge of collocations helps ESOL students' language sound more fluid and natural. They will be more easily understood and make fewer grammar errors. They will also have alternative and richer ways of expressing themselves.

Words are learned and stored in chunks, not in isolation therefore it is easier to remember and use collocations. Handing out traditional vocabulary lists of isolated words is of little value if students don’t know and haven’t practiced the context in which the word may occur.

Watch this video to see collocation being used in a year 11 science class

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

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Published on: 19 Jan 2018