Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

What is a collocation?

When we put two words together and we can’t explain why other words can’t be substituted it’s a collocation.

This increases your score because it shows that you understand natural English.

You need to memorize a short list like this one.

Test day is not the time to take risks so get to know these collocations well and use them on exam day.


Collocations for IELTS:

  • To safely assume: synonyms for “safely” do not work here. This means that we are sure about something.
    • “Because the cost of living is high in Boston we can safely assume that we’ll spend more than $1,000 per month on rent.”


  • To achieve an objective: To reach a goal.
    • “There are several ways to achieve these objectives.”


  • To become widespread: When something starts to become more common and we see it more and more
    • “Biking to work is becoming more widespread.”
    • “Food trucks have become widespread in Portland.”


  • In-depth analysis: To look at something on a deep level or to do detailed research

You need to learn these as chunks.

Use them in your journal when you are practicing your general writing fluency.

Use one of these collocations per day for a few weeks then start on a new list.

Let us know your questions in the comments below.

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