Saturday, 15 October 2016

The most frequent collocations in spoken English

A collocation is a group of two or more words that are often used together. These combinations sound common and natural to native English speakers.
Image courtesy of https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/images/6671.jpg
The following table displays several collations most commonly used in English speaking.

All along
All the time/from the very beginning
Do you think he's been cheating us all along?
Bạn có nghĩ rằng anh ấy đã và đang lừa dối chúng ta?
All the same
All/just the same = No difference
Nevertheless
He's not very reliable, but I like him just the same.
'Will you stay for lunch?' 'No, but thanks all the same.'
All the same, there's some truth in what she says.
All thumbs
Clumsy, awkward
Vụng về, lóng ngóng, không gọn gàng
Harry tried to fix the chair but he was all thumbs.
Can you thread this needle for me? I'm all thumbs.
Poor Bob can't play the piano at all. He's all thumbs. Mary is all thumbs when it comes to gardening.
As a rule
Usually, but not always
As a rule, men should wear tuxedos at formal dinners.
As a rule, the bus picks me up at 7:30 every morning.
As for me/as to me (someone/something)
In my opinion
He prefers hiking and surfing. As for me, I would rather just stay at home and relax.
As for dessert, I'd better skip it today.
We are not sure as to how to pay the bill.
See more at http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/as+for
As well
Also, too
They advertised the new movie on television and in newspapers as well.
Mary is going to Italy and to France as well.
A fine software engineer, he has knowlede of database design as well.
Be about to
Ready (to do)
I am about to go downtown.
The chorus is about to sing.
Be all in
Be extremely tired
I was all in after only the first mile of the race. I could barely even walk for the rest of it!
I've had six children to look after today and I'm in all.
Be in charge (of something/someone)
Be responsible for something or someone
Who's in charge here?
The teacher put me in charge of organising the project.
Be in the red
If you or your bank account are in the red, you owe money to the bank.
See be in the black
If a bank account is in the black, it contains some money, and if a person or business is in the black, they have money in the bank and are not in debt.
Be in debt
State government has been operating in the red for five straight years. What with all those car repairs, we're going to be in the red this month.
Tourism is down and many hotels are operating in the red. The phone company found itself about $1.8 billion in the red.
Be into something
Be interested in
If you're into something, it means you really like it.

'I'm into listening to music. What are you into?'
'I'm into singing!'
See more at https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/word-the-week/be-something
Be out of sorts
In bad humor
to be slightly ill or slightly unhappy
I've been feeling tired and headachy and generally out of sorts.
Be touch and go
Be uncertain of the result
If a situation is touch-and-go, it is uncertain
The doctor says that it's touch-and-go whether Mary will be okay.
Be up to one's ears in something
Be very busy
to be very busy, or to have more of something than you can manage
I'm up to my ears in work.
She's up to her ears in debt.
Big shot
Important person
a person or an organization with a lot of power or influence
He is trying to become a big shot in the mortgage business.
Break into something
Enter by force
to begin suddenly to do something
to force your way into something
He broke into a run, and we couldn’t catch him.
He’s had his apartment broken into twice.
By heart
By memorising
to learn something in such a way that you can say it from memory
learned in such a way that you can repeat it from memory:
My father can still recite the poems he learned by heart at school.

By the way
Incidentally
used to introduce a new subject to be considered or to give further information
I think we've discussed everything we need to - by the way, what time is it?
Oh, by the way, my name's Julie.
Catch sb's eye
attract attention
A sudden movement caught my eye.
I tried to catch the waiter's eye, so we could order.
It was the unusual colour of his jacket that caught my eye.
Catch sb's breath
get your breath (back)
Stop and rest
to pause or rest for a short time until you can breathe comfortably or regularly again
I had to stop running to catch my breath.
Come true
become reality
If a hope, wish, or dream comes true, it happens although it was unlikely that it would
I'd always dreamed of owning my own house, but I never thought it would come true.
After all the problems I'd had getting pregnant, Oliver's birth was a dream come true.
Down to earth
practical, reasonable, and friendly:
She's a down-to-earth woman with no pretensions.
After twice of divorces, she is thinking of a down-to-earth view of marriage.
Draw the line
fix a limit
to never do something because you think it is wrong
set a limit on what one is willing to do or accept
to separate one thing from another
I swear a lot, but even I draw the line at saying certain words.
You can make as much noise as you want, but I draw the line at fighting.
It's hard to keep young people under control, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
It's not clear where this author draws the line between fact and fiction.
Even so
Nevertheless (tuy vậy), but
despite what has just been said
mặc cho cái gì đó vừa được nói ra
I had a terrible headache, but even so I went to the concert.
An immediate interest cut might give a small boost to the economy. Even so, any recovery is likely to be very slow.
Feel up to (doing) something
Be able to do something
to have the energy to do something
I don't feel up to going out tonight.
Few and far between
rare, scarce
not very many or not appearing very frequently
Sunny, warm weekends have been few and far between this summer.
For good
Forever
She's gone and this time it's for good.
From now on
Now and in the future
from this moment and always in the future
From now on the gates will be locked at midnight.
Get cold feet
Be afraid to do
to suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do, especially something important such as getting married
We're getting married next Saturday - that's if Trevor doesn't get cold feet!
I'm worried she may be getting cold feet about our trip to Patagonia.
Get mixed up
Get confused
upset, worried, and confused, especially because of personal problems
He's just a mix-up kid.
Had better
should
If you had better/best do something, you should do it or it would be good to do it
I'd better leave a note so they'll know I'll be late.
Hold it!
Stop! Wait!
used to tell someone to wait or stop doing something
Hold it! I don't have my coat on yet.
Hold it! What are you saying?
Hold on (a minute)!
Wait!
- used to tell someone to wait for a short time
- used to say that you are confused or surprised by something that you have just heard or read and want to understand it
Hold!
to hold something or someone firmly with your hands or arms
"Are you ready?" "No, hold on."
Hold on, I'll check in my diary.
Now hold on, Ed, that wasn't what we agreed at all!
She held on tightly to his waist.
Hepefully, you could learn and practice these collocations as much as possible. Good luck!
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