What are Collocations and Why Should We Teach Them?
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Would you be able to explain how it’s possible to make a strong coffee but not a powerful coffee?
Why do we say a heavy suitcase, but also heavy traffic and a heavy sleeper?
Why do we do homework but make a mistake?
If you are scratching your head at these questions, you can imagine how our learners feel! Sometimes there seems to be no logic to English and no good explanation for why we say certain things. In the case of the examples above, these are examples of collocations.
A collocation is a group of words which always go together. They can be verbs with prepositions, verbs with adverbs, nouns with adjectives, nouns with nouns – in other words, there are many different word combinations which are collocations! The difficulty with collocations is that for a native speaker, they will sound perfectly natural but our learners do not have this advantage so they need to discover them and learn them.
Why is it important to learn collocations?
Using collocations in your language is the best way to sound natural. Helping our learners use collocations will improve their English in a big way.
How can we help our students learn collocations?
Teach language in chunks
When looking at vocabulary, don’t just teach a word on its own. Teach it in relation to its word family and also the different phrases we commonly use with that word.
For example, when teaching the word good, draw your students’ attention to these common collocations:
a good question/idea
a good reason
By taking a bit more time and explaining a more extensive use of the word you are opening up a lot more knowledge for your students.
Help them revise
Unfortunately for our students, there is no formula for learning collocations; they just need to learn them. We can help our students by regularly revising the vocabulary learnt in class. Regular revision will help the language be transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory and so be able to be used in production.
Encourage your students to read
Reading is one of the best ways to pick up language. Reading is a great way for learners to be exposed to natural English usage and so become aware of common English collocations.
Use authentic materials
Using authentic materials in our lessons will provide our students with more exposure to authentic English usage. In this way our students will find collocations in context which will give them even more information on how to use them accurately.
Even though students may find collocations frustrating, helping them learn collocations will go a long way to improving their English level and sounding more natural.
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- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.