List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories

1.MOTHER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 1


  • A mama’s boy

E.g. I thought I loved him until I realized he was a momma’s boy who can’t do anything without his mother’s permission or approval.

  • At your mother’s knee

E.g. I learned how to bake at my mother’s knee when I was just a girl.

  • Everyone and his mother

E.g. I’m so jealous, everyone and his mother is going on a vacation this summer except for me.

  • A mother hen

E.g. Jenny can be a bit of a mother hen when we’re out at the bars.

  • Be tied to (one’s) mother’s apron strings

E.g. Can you make a decision on your own, or are you tied to your mother’s apron strings?

  • Like mother, like daughter

E.g. My mother loved sweets, and everytime my father saw me with a cookie in my hand, he would sigh, “Like mother,like daughter.

  • The mother of all (something)

E.g. Wow, that is the mother of all sandwiches.It’s a foot high!

  • Mother Nature

E.g. Look at all the wonders that Mother Nature provides, from fruit and vegetables to beautiful mountains and oceans.

  • A face only a mother could love

E.g. The poor baby has a face only a mother could love.

  • Expectant mother

E.g. I know the subway’s crowded, but you should really give your seat to the expectant mother standing by the door…

2. PEOPLE Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 2

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 3

  • Born optimist

Eg: I admire Jamal because he always sees the sunny side of life. He’s a born optimist.

  • Culture vulture

Eg: John spends most of his weekends reading books or attending art exhibitions. He’s a real culture vulture.

  • Eager beaver

Eg: She always does her English grammar homework and even asks for extra exercises on the weekend. What an eager beaver!

  • Early bird

Eg: In her senior years, when she finally had the luxurious freedom to sleep in, Delores became an early bird and got up every morning at 5:00 am.

  • Earth mother

Eg: Even as a young girl, Ida showed herself to be an earth mother. She always helped her mother to look after her younger brothers and sisters.

  • Family man

Eg: Since the birth of his twins, Harvey has become a family man. He spends all of his spare time with his children.

  • Go-getter

Eg: It isn’t surprising that Isaac has made it to the top of the corporate world. He was always someone who went after what he wanted, a real go-getter.

  • Good egg

Eg: Marry was the type of person who would have helped anyone – a real good egg.

  • Jack-of-all-trades

Eg: From auto repair to hairdressing, Frank can do it all. He is a jack-of-all-trades.

  • Man of his word / woman of her word

Eg: You can trust Samuel. He is a man of his word…

3. FRUIT Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 4

  • The apple of your eye

E.g. She has three children, but her youngest son is the apple of her eye.

  • Go bananas

E.g. She’ll go bananas if she sees the house in this (dirty) condition.

  • A bite at the cherry

E.g. He definitely wants a bite of the cherry.

  • Not give a fig

E.g. You can do what you want. I don’t give a fig.

  • Apples and oranges

E.g. My mom and my mother-in-law are just apples and oranges.

  • Lemon

E.g. The car dealer sold me a lemon.

  • Peach

E.g. You brought me coffee? Ah, you’re a peach.

  • Go pear-shaped

E.g. What are we going to do this weekend if our plans go pear-shaped?

  • A plum job

E.g. He got a plum job in an insurance company.

  • The apple never falls far from the tree

E.g. Her daughter soon showed her own musical talent, proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Bad apple (especially US)

E.g. It is hoped the inquiry will pick out the bad apples in the police force…

4. LOVE Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 5

  • Fall In Love With Somebody

Eg: I think I’m falling in love with my best friend. What should I do?

  • Love At First Sight

Eg: My wife and I met at a party. It was love at first sight.

  • Be An Item

Eg: I didn’t know Chris and Sue were an item. They didn’t even look at each other at dinner.

  • Match Made In Heaven

Eg: “Do you think Matt and Amanda will get married?” – “I hope they will. They’re a match made in heaven.”

  • Be Head Over Heels (In Love)

Eg: Look at them. They’re head over heels in love with each other.

  • Be Lovey-Dovey

Eg: I don’t want to go out with Jenny and David. They’re so lovey-dovey, I just can’t stand it.

  • Blinded By Love

Eg: She is so blinded by love that she can’t see him for who he truly is. He is not a good person, he is rude and disrespectful to everyone around him, including her.

  • Blind Date

Eg: My sister keeps organising blind dates for me. She’d just love to fix me up with someone.

  • Tie The Knot

Eg: “When are you and Jenny going to tie the knot?” – “This year, but we haven’t set a date yet.”

  • Love Rat

Eg: Don’t even think about asking Jane out. How could you look your wife in the eye? Don’t be a love rat…

5. BOOK Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 6

  • A closed book

Eg: I’m a scientist, so art will always be a closed book to me.

  • An open book

Eg: Ask me anything, I’m an open book.

  • Read someone like a book

Eg: There are a number of books on the market which suggest that it is possible to learn to read a person like a book.

  • The oldest trick in the book

Eg: Look, you can fix it by threading a paper clip through the hole. Oldest trick in the book!

  • In someone’s good books

Eg: I cleaned the bathroom yesterday so I’m in Mum’s good books.

  • By the book

Eg: The lawyers want to make sure we’ve done everything strictly by the book.

  • Bring someone to book

Eg: Police should be asked to investigate so that the guilty can be brought to book soon.

  • Take a leaf out of someone’s book

Eg: I think I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and start going for a run first thing in the morning.

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover

Eg: The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

  • Cook the books

Eg: My partner had been cooking the books for years, but because I was the CEO, I got the blame for our company’s collapse…

6. CAT Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 7

  • Has the cat got your tongue?

Meaning: Why are you not saying anything?

  • Put the cat among the pigeons

Meaning: Say or do something that causes trouble or controversy

  • Like the cat that got the cream

Meaning: Looking particularly self-satisfied, often to the annoyance of others

  • Let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: Mistakingly allow a secret to be known

  • Fight like cat and dog

Meaning: Continually arguing with each other

  • When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Meaning: When the person of authority is away, people will behave badly

  • Fat cat

Meaning: A negative description of a rich and powerful person

  • Curiosity killed the cat

Meaning: Being too curious can get you into trouble

  • Not have a cat in hell’s chance

Meaning: When some something has no chance of success, it doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance.

  • Look like something the cat dragged in

Meaning: When someone looks very untidy and messy, they look like something the cat dragged in…

7. WEATHER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 8

  • A storm in a teacup

Eg: Our argument was no big deal – just a storm in a tea cup

  • It never rains but it pours

Eg: I lost my wallet and now I’ve lost my phone. It never rains but it pours!

  • Take a rain check

Eg: No thanks. I’ll take the rain check. Enjoy the party!

  • Be snowed under

Eg: I’m snowed under with work. I’ve got so much to do.

  • Be/feel under the weather

Eg: I can’t finish my work today. I feel under the weather.

  • Have your head in the clouds

Eg: I can’t talk sense into him. He has his head in the cloud.

  • Soak up the sun

Eg: Let’s go out and soak up some sun

  • Catch some rays

Eg: yesterday, I lay on the beach and catch some rays.

  • Dog days of the summer

Eg: It has been at least 50 degrees every day this week!. The dog days of summer are here!

  • On cloud nine

Eg: When my boyfriend proposed to me, I was on cloud nine.

  • In the dark

Eg: I was kept in the dark about the intervention until a few minutes before it was a reality.

  • Heavens open

Eg: Let’s come back soon before the heavens open!…

8. COUNTRY Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 9

  • Take French leave

Eg: The driver had taken French leave

  • To go Dutch

Eg: Sally said she wouldn’t let a man pay for her meal on a first date. She prefers to go Dutch.

  • Dutch courage

Eg: I think I’ll have a glass of whiskey for Dutch courage before I ask that girl if she wants to dance with me.

  • It’s all Greek to me

Eg: I tried to watch a TV show about physics last night, but I gave up. It was all Greek to me.

  • Chinese whispers

Eg: All this talk about the President resigning is just Chinese whispers. There’s no truth to this rumour at all.

  • A Mexican Standoff

Eg: There seems to be a Mexican standoff in the talks as neither the buyer or seller can agree on a price.

  • When in Rome (do as Romans do)

Eg: I don’t love cotton candy, but we are at a carnival. When in Rome, right?

  • Talk for England

Eg: I’m so sorry I’m late. I couldn’t get away from Linda. She can talk for England!

  • Indian Summer (UK)

Eg: Much as I love this Indian Summer,  I wish we had this warm weather in the summer rather than in October…

9. NUMBER Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 10

  • All in one piece

E.g. He got home from the party all in one piece.

  • Back to square one

E.g. The project failed, we’re back to square one.

  • Have one too many

E.g. I can’t drive, I had one too many.

  • On cloud nine

E.g. When my mom bought me a computer, I was on cloud nine.

  • One for the road

E.g. Let’s have one for the road!

  • Six feet under

E.g. I’m going to be six feet under by 2100.

  • Ten to one

E.g. Ten to one I’m going to win.

  • Kill two birds with one stone.

E.g. I’ll drop you off on the way to work, we’ll kill two birds with one stone.

  • A million and one

E.g. I have a million and one ideas…

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 11

10. HUMAN BODY Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 12

  • Head start

E.g. You’ve got a head start over / another’s trying to get the job because you’ve got relevant work experience.

  • Sight for sore eyes

E.g. You’re a sight for sore eyes!

  • A weight off your shoulders

E.g. Talking over my problem with my close friend was a weight off my shoulders.

  • Pain in the neck

E.g. This calculus homework is a real pain in the neck.

  • Gut feeling

E.g. Jennifer’s mother had a gut feeling that something was wrong when her daughter wasn’t home by 10 o’clock.

  • Hands are tied

E.g. I’d like to raise people’s salaries but my hands are tied.

  • Joined at the hip

E.g. Amy and her boss were joined at the hip; you never saw one without the other.

  • Week at the knees

E.g. The thought of kissing him made me go weak at the knees.

  • Achilles heel

E.g. Maths has always been my achilles heel.

  • Find your feet

E.g. Did it take you long to find your feet when you started your new job?

11. TIME Idioms

List of Common Idioms Arranged in Categories 13

  • Buy time

E.g. She is just stalling to buy time.

  • Do time

E.g. He did time in a California prison.

  • A race against time/the clock

E.g. It’s a race against time to complete the construction.

  • A whale of a time

E.g. The kids had a whale of a time at the theme park.

  • Time flies

E.g. Look how fast our children grew up, how time flies.

  • It’s high time

E.g. It’s high time he met with me to resolve this issue.

  • Third time’s a charm

E.g. I had to ask her out three times before she said yes. Well you know… Third time’s a charm.

  • Beat the clock

E.g. Although she was late to the exam, she managed to beat the clock and finished all of it 10 minutes before the end.

  • Better late than never

E.g. Well hello John. Better late than never, huh? Class started half an hour ago.

  • At the eleventh hour

E.g. We barely made the deadline, there was so much to do in this project we turned it in at the eleventh hour…


What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples

Compound adjectives are adjectives that are made up of two or more words usually with hyphens (-) between them.

Compound adjectives can be formed as follows:

1. Adjective + Past participle

  • narrow-minded

I can’t stand narrow-minded people who are intolerant of new ideas.

  • high-spirited

The students gave a high-spirited musical performance.

  • old-fashioned

We had lunch in an old-fashioned restaurant.

  • short-haired

He was dancing with a short-haired woman.

  • absent-minded

His absent-minded comment hurt his sister’s feelings.

  • strong-willed

She’s a strong-willed woman who won’t stop until she gets what she wants.

  • quick-witted

The quick-witted detective solved the crime before anyone else had a clue.

  • kind-hearted

A kind-hearted stranger helped us find the train station.

2. Adverb + Past Participle

  • well-behaved

They have three well-behaved children.

  • well-educated

A lot of well-educated people are still having trouble finding jobs.

  • densely-populated

This densely-populated area has the highest crime rates in the country.

  • widely-recognized

She’s a widely-recognized expert in technology.

  • highly-respected

Our speaker tonight is a highly-respected scholar.

  • brightly-lit

We live on a brightly-lit street in the city center.

3. Noun + Past Participle

  • sun-baked

We strolled along the sun-baked streets of Naples.

  • child-wanted

I wanted to buy my daughter the most child-wanted toy.

  • middle-aged

A lot of middle-aged men are dissatisfied with their lives.

4. Noun + Present Participle

  • English-speaking

United Kingdom is an English-speaking country.

  • time-saving

These time-saving techniques will help you work more efficiently.

  • record-breaking

The athlete’s record-breaking performance won him the gold medal.

  • mouth-watering

There was a variety of mouth-watering desserts at the wedding reception.

  • thought-provoking

It was a thought-provoking novel.

5. Adjective + Present Participle

  • good-looking

Who’s that good-looking guy over there?

  • long-lasting

This long-lasting makeup will keep you looking lovely day and night.

  • slow-moving

I was stuck in slow-moving traffic for over an hour.

  • far-reaching

The new law will have far-reaching effects in the economy.

6. Adverb + Present Participle

  • never-ending

Learning a language seems to be a never-ending process.

  • forward-thinking

Some forward-thinking politicians are proposing reforms to the educational system.

7. Noun + Adjective

  • world-famous

We had dinner at a world-famous Italian restaurant.

  • ice-cold

There’s nothing better than drinking an ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

  • smoke-free

This is a smoke-free restaurant.

8. Adjective + Noun

  • full-length

The director produced his first full-length movie in 1998.

  • last-minute

It was a last-minute decision.

9. Noun + Noun

  • part-time

We have 20 part-time members of staff .

10. Adjective + Adjective

  • fat-free

These fat-free cookies are delicious!

 What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples 14

A list of compound adjectives with their meanings:

  • Kind-hearted: kind; generous
  • Brightly-litfull of light
  • Old-fashionednot modern
  • Deeply-rooteddifficult to change
  • Good-lookingattractive
  • Labor-savingmaking work easier
  • Left-handeduses left hand for writing ≠ Right- handed
  • Short-sighted: unable to see far things ≠ Long-sighted
  • Well-knownfamous
  • Easy-goingeasy to accept things without worrying
  • Brand-newcompletely new
  • Part-time (job)carries fewer hours per week
  • Badly-writtenwritten in a bad or wrong way
  • Well-paidproviding or receiving good payment
  • Second-handnot new; used by someone before
  • Well-informedknows a lot
  • Open-mindedflexible
  • Red-handeddid a crime or something wrong
  • Tight-fistedmean; not generous with money
  • Well-earneddeserved
  • Self-reliantindependent
  • Self-centeredselfish
  • Ever-lastingeternal
  • Heart-brokendepressed
  • Narrow-mindedinflexible
  • Absent-mindedforgetful; likely to forget things
  • Middle-agedaround 40-50 years old
  • Quick-witted: intelligent, clever, fast at thinking and discovering things
  • Strong-willedstrong desires, stubborn, does not desist
  • High-spiritedwith a lot of energy

What Is a Compound Adjective? Definition, List and Examples 15

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Commonly Confused Words: 20+ Word Pairs that Confuse Absolutely Everyone

Learn list of 20+ English Word Pairs that Confuse Absolutely Everyone. Commonly Confused Words in English.

1.TO vs. FOR

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 Commonly Confused Words: 20+ Word Pairs that Confuse Absolutely Everyone 18

3. GO vs. COME

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  •  MUCH is used with uncountable nouns (a large amount of something), such as tea, sugar, water, air, rice, knowledge, beauty, anger, fear, love, money, etc. When using much, the noun will always be singular; it cannot be plural.
  • MANY is used with countable nouns(a large number of things) such as book, idea,dog,car,etc. When using many, the noun will always be plural.


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  • Neither can also be followed by (one) of + group of two:  “Neither of them is ready”.
  • Neither… nor is equivalent to not… either… or: “Neither  John nor Sophia will be there”.
  • Neither is used like not… either: “I don’t speak English. Neither do I – (informal): Me neither”.


  • Either can also be followed by (one) of + group of two: “Either of us could do it”.
  • Either… or is used to offer a choice between two possibilities: “Either John or Sophia will be there”.
  • Not… either… or denies both possibilities: “I don’t think either John or Sophia will be there”.
  • Not… either is used after a negative statement: “I don’t speak English. You don’t either”.


Commonly Confused Words: 20+ Word Pairs that Confuse Absolutely Everyone 24

9.  CAN vs. COULD

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13. MISS vs. LOSE

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14. BY vs. UNTIL

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15. I WISH vs. IF ONLY

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17. RAISE vs. RISE

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18. ONLY vs. JUST

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20. LIKE vs. AS

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21. JOB vs. WORK

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Commonly Used Preposition Collocations in English

Learn common Preposition Collocations in English.

1.”Verb + Preposition” Combinations

1.1. Verb + TO

  • Listen to

Example: Little girls like to listen to lullabies at bed time.

  • Speak to

Example: You should speak to the boys about their behaviors

  • Apologize to

Example: Go and apologize your sister for what you said!

  • Belong to

Example: This book belongs to me.

  • Happen to

Example: What happen to you at the party?

  • Turn to

Example: A student who needs money turns to his parents.

  • Talk to

Example: Are you talking to me?

  • Used to

Example: She used to be lonely until she found Mr.Right.

1.2. Verb + FOR

  • Wait for

Example: hey, slow down & wait for her!

  • Look for

Example: Are you looking for this book?

  • Ask for

Example: If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.

  • Apply for

Example: I am going to apply for a new job today.

  • Blame for

Example: Why do you always blame me for everything?

  • Care for

Example: the mother is caring for her sick child.

  • Long for

Example: He longs for the days when he used to have a job.

  • Head for

Example: When shopping, he heads straight for the beer shelf.

1.3. Verb + AT

  • Smile at

Example: When she smiles at me, I become dizzy.

  • Stare at

Example:  Don’t stare at me like that!

  • Aim at

Example: Aim at the target if you want to hit it.

  • Look at

Example: Look at me! I’m talking to you!

  • Point at

It is rude to point at people

  • Laugh at

Why do you laugh at me?

1.4. Verb + FROM

  • Recover from

He luckily recovers from a terrible accidence.

  • Borrow from

If you want to run your own business, you could borrow money from the bank.

  • Escape from

Luckily, I escape from a thief.

  • Graduate from

I’ve just graduated from university this year.

 Commonly Used Preposition Collocations in English 38

2. “Adjective + Preposition” Combinations

  • Accused of  

He’s been accused of robbery/murder.

  • Accustomed to

It’ll take time for me to accustom myself to the changes.

  • Addicted to

A lot of people nowadays have become addicted to the internet.

  • Afraid of

Are you afraid of the dark?

  • Allergic to

My dad’s allergic to pop music.

  • Amazed at/by

She was amazed at how calm she felt after the accident.

  • Angry about

I’m really angry about our losses on the stock market!

  • Angry with someone for something

I’m really angry with John for his total lack of responsibility.

  • Annoyed about/with/at 

He’s annoyed with Tim because he told his secret.

  • Anxious about/to

The drought has made farmers anxious about the harvest..

  • Appreciated for

We appreciate the need for immediate action.

  • Ashamed of  

I’m not ashamed of what I did.

  • Associated with/at/by

I don’t want my children associating with drug addicts and alcoholics.

  • Attached to

I don’t attach any importance/significance to these rumors.

  • Aware of

Were you aware of the risks at the time?

  • Awful at

I’m awful at names.

  • Bad at/for

Jack is really bad at keeping his promises.

  • Based on

The film is based on a short story by Thomas Mann.

  • Beneficial to

A stay in the country will be beneficial to his health.

  • Blessed with

You are blessed with many talents.

  • Bored with

You get bored / fed up with doing the same thing every day.

  • Brilliant at

He’s brilliant at football.

  • Busy with

The kids are busy with their homework.

  • Capable of         

You are capable of better work than this.

  • Careful with/to/about/of

Be careful with the glasses.

Be careful to look both ways when you cross the road.

He’s in a really foul temper so be careful (about/of) what you say to him.

  • Careless with

Don’t be careless with your ATM card.

  • Certain about/of

He was quite certain about/of his attacker’s identity.

  • Clever at/about/of/for/with

Fiona is very clever at physics.

My mother is very clever with her hands.

How clever of you to buy chocolate chip cookies – they’re my favorites.

  • Cluttered with

The floor was cluttered with my situation

  • Comfortable with/in

I’m not comfortable with the idea of leaving her on her own.

I don’t feel comfortable in high heels.

Her job is something concerned with computers.

  • Connected with/to

He was connected in some way with that fraud scandal a couple of years back.

First connect the printer to the computer.

  • Conscious of

She’s very conscious of the problems involved.

  • Content with

Not content with stealing my boyfriend, she has turned all my friends against me.

  • Coordinated with

Our program is coordinated with yours

  • Concerned about/for/with/to

I’m a bit concerned about/for your health.

He was concerned to hear that two of his trusted workers were leaving…

Commonly Used Preposition Collocations in English 39

Prepositions after certain words

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Common Verb Collocations in English

In the English language, collocation refers to a natural combination of words that are closely affiliated with each other. Some examples are “pay attention” ,”fast food”, “make an effort”, and “powerful engine”.

1.Collocations with GO

  • Go abroad

E.g. I think we should go abroad on holiday this year.

  • Go astray

E.g. John will go astray if he becomes friends with Bad Jack.

  • Go bad

E.g. The milk will go bad if it is not kept in the fridge.

  • Go bald

E.g. Many men go bald at an early age.

  • Go bankrupt

E.g. The company is about to go bankrupt.

  • Go blind

E.g. The old cat is starting to go blind.

  • Go crazy

E.g. The old man is going to go crazy.

  • Go deaf

E.g. Many old people go deaf.

  • Go fishing

E.g. I would like to go fishing this weekend.

  • Go insane (idiom)

E.g. If you don’t stop making that noise, I’m going to go (completely) insane!…

Common Verb Collocations in English 41

2. Collocations with HAVE

  • A baby (To give birth to a baby)

My grandmother had all her babies at home.

  • A backache

My father has a backache so he couldn’t sleep well.

  • A bath

I can’t remember the last time I had a bath

  • A bite

Can I have a bite of your hot dog?

  • A break

Let’s have a break when you finish this exercise

  • A business trip

My dad has a business trip so we could not visit our grandmother together

  • A busy day

I have a busy day.

  • A conversation/chat

Can we have a conversation before we make any decision?

  • A cup of tea/ coffee

Would you like to have a cup of tea/coffee

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3. Collocations with MAKE

  • Make a mess

Eg: If rich kids make a mess, their servants tidy things up again.

  • Make a mistake

Eg: Whenever we make mistakes, our teacher corrects them for us.

  • Make a note (of)

Eg: I’d better make a note of that, or I might forget.

  • Make a reservation

Eg: Shall I make a reservation for 8 o’clock at that Japanese restaurant?

  • Make a takeover bid

Eg: The company made a takeover bid for one of its rivals.

  • Make an appearance

Eg: We waited forthirty minutes for the professor to make an appearance,then we went home.

  • Make an effort

Eg: You can’t learn a language without making an effort…

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4. Collocations with GIVE

  • A call (a ring, a buzz)

E.g. Give me a call when you get back from your trip.

  • A chance

E.g. He gave me a chance and I took it gladly.

  • A choice

E.g. I was given no choice; I had to go to the boring lecture.

  • A damn

E.g. She doesn’t give a damn about her job.

  • A hand

E.g. Can I give you a hand with those bags?

  • A headache

E.g. That loud music is giving me a headache.

  • A hug or kiss

E.g. Come here and give me a kiss!

  • A lecture or speech or performance

E.g. The president will give a long speech…

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5. Collocations with DO

  • A course

E.g. We’re doing a course at the local university.

  • A deal

E.g. Have you done any deals with distributors in Asia yet?

  • A favour

E.g. Can you do me a favour?

  • A good/great/terrible job

E.g. You’ve done a good job cleaning the house!

  • A report

E.g. I’m doing a report on the history of American foreign policy.

  • Badly

E.g. Everyone did badly on the test – the highest grade was 68…

Common Verb Collocations in English 45

Common Verb Collocations

Common Verb Collocations in English 46