Understanding Why We Need to Learn Collocations

Lecture 2:
Understanding Why We Need
to Learn Collocations
Developed by Yang Ying
Online Lecture Series on Collocation Learning
Review of Lecture 1: What is
Word Combinations
Longer chunks
single words
Lecture 1 tells you about what is
Focus of Lecture 2:
the importance of collocation learning
Why Should We Learn
Reason 1: Helps Language Production
Knowing the meaning of single
words – comprehension
Knowing word combinations –
Single word: analysis--recognition
 Word combinations
Word combinations: Collocations
What verb can I
put before
You can say “perform an
analysis” or “carry out an
Word combinations: Collocations
 Thank you!
Word combination: perform an analysis,
carry out an analysis – USE 
Why Should We Learn
Reason 2: Be native-like
Word grammar—some combinations are
allowed in your native tongue, but not in
the target language
What would you say?
A strong engine or a powerful engine?
Business journey or business trip?
Why Should We Learn
Reason 3: Express your ideas better
 Giving you more power to express your
Contrast the following
1. This is a good book and contains a lot of
interesting details. 
2. This is a fascinating book and contains a
wealth of historical detail. 
You communicate much more with
the right combination of words !
Why Should We Learn
Reason 4:
Helping you to enhance writing
sophistication and avoid simple, flat style
of writing. E.g. overuse of general words
a good analysis? – too general – in what
way is it good?
How about?
a detailed analysis
a thorough analysis
an in-depth analysis
Reason 5: Further Language Development
Bothered about slow progress in language
development at this stage?
Not knowing what to learn after all grammar
topics have been learned?
Learning collocations helps you take off
Words from Experts
For intermediate level language learners,
when they have learned the grammatical
structures of the language and are able to
produce such structures correctly, the
only viable way for them to improve
further and to reach the advanced level of
language proficiency is to learn more
collocations rather than doing grammar
only (Morgan Lewis, 2001).
Do you know?
Uneducated native speakers of English
may only have a vocabulary size of 2000
words, but can function well in their daily
That’s because
they are able to combine these words to
make meaning
Importance of learning collocation
Improve language use
 Use native like expressions
 Express your ideas with greater power
 Improve writing sophistication
 Further develop your language proficiency
Why Wait?
Start Paying Attention to Collocations
Start Learning Collocations
Lewis, Morgan. (2001). Third conditional
again! Isn't there anything else? New
Routes, 12. Retrieved June 25, 2002 from
Oxford Collocations Dictionary for
Students of English (2003). Oxford
University Press.
Click below to continue onto
Lecture 3
Developing Awareness of Collocation
Through Reading

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