Take a picture, take a bath, take your time . . . but don’t take a coffee! Collocations in English can sometimes be confusing, but they are simple once you memorize them. Today we are looking at collocations with a commonly-used verb: “take.”

What is a collocation? A collocation is a combination of two words; in this case, a verb and a noun. This verb and this noun should always go together, and if you use another verb, the sentence is incorrect and seems awkward. For example, in English we say “take a picture,” so asking someone to “make a picture” is incorrect.

Collocations are a sign that you have mastered English and are one of the things that test examiners pay close attention to when you are taking the TOEFL or Cambridge ESOL exams. Needless to say, they are very important!

Lets look at some of the more common collocations with “take”:

  • take advantage of something: We took advantage of Taco Tuesday and ordered two more plates!
  • take bids: For our trip to Las Vegas, we took bids on different tour companies and decided on the cheapest one. 
  • take a bite: The first time I took a bite of an In N Out burger, I was in love. 
  • take a bow: The band took a bow after their last song during the concert last night. 
  • take a break: We take a 20-minute break at CISL. 
  • take a call: He excused himself to take a call. 
  • take a chance: You take a big chance when you move to California to study English, but it’s definitely worth it!
  • take a class: We took a dance class at Balboa Park.
  • take a look: I took one look at the sunset in Pacific Beach and I knew it was the most beautiful sight. 
  • take a number: When I got my driver’s license, I had to go to the DMV. I waited one hour after I took a number. 
  • take a rest: During our recent road trip to Lake Tahoe, we decided to stop and take a rest in Napa. 
  • take a seat: She took her seat after her presentation. 
  • take a taxi: We took a taxi from FLUXX to Little Italy
  • take an exam/a test: Of course I was nervous when I took the CAE exam, but I was prepared!

Need more information on collocations? Check out this list of collocations with “make” and “do” and another on collocations with “give” for more practice!