August’s Grammar Lesson of the Month is Collocations!

What are collocations?

Collocations are two words that go together. For example, when you go home after class, you have homework. You say “I have to DO my homework.” This is the verb that is always used with “homework”. When you get up in the morning, you MAKE your bed. You take pictures (not make pictures), you do the dishes, etc.

Types of Collocations

There are many types of collocations:

  • Adverb + Adjective: completely mortified (NOT complete mortified)
  • Adjective + Noun: severe pain (NOT excruciatingly pain)
  • Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a surging of anger)
  • Noun + Verb: dogs bark (NOT dogs talk)
  • Verb + Noun: commit a crime (NOT do a  crime)
  • Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears)
  • Verb + Adverb: search frantically (NOT search frantic)

Today we will focus only on the Noun + Verb collocations with the verbs “make” and “do”.

Why study collocations?

Knowing collocations helps students sound more like natural, native speakers. Collocations are an important part of learning English… and a pretty easy part, too! The trick is to simply memorize and practice them, which we will do this month. We will start with collocations for “make” and “do”.


Collocations with “make” and “do”

Make is typically used when we talk about creating something.
“I will make some dinner after this show is over.”


Do is generally used for activities.

“I do my homework after class.”


Here are some more examples of collocations with “make”:

make a difference
make a mess
make a mistake
make a noise
make an effort
make furniture
make money
make progress
make room
make trouble


And here are some with “do”:

do business
do nothing
do someone a favor
do the cooking
do the housework
do the shopping
do the washing up
do your best
do your hair
do research


Want to practice using collocations? If you are REALLY crazy about collocations, the internet is full is collocation lists for you to study!