April 25

Why Collocations Are Important For The PTE Academic Exam


A collocation is a combination of words that are often seen together. They are a group of words that “sound right” because they are so commonly grouped together.

What Is A Collocation?

A collocation is just a common grouping of words that native English speakers use. There is no real reason behind these groupings. A good example of this is the phrase ' fast food'. We wouldn’t say 'quick food' even though the words quick and fast mean exactly the same thing. Some other common collocations include 'heavy rain, strong coffee' etc.

Why Do You Need To Know Collocations For The PTE Academic

Native  English speakers use collocations all the time, even though we don’t really know why and we don’t memorize them. They just sound natural. Therefore, knowing and using them will make your language more natural and easily understood. Collocations are useful to know in order to boost your vocabulary, fluency, written discourse, and overall writing and speaking scores on the PTE

They are also quite useful for certain questions. In Reading fill-in-the-blank questions a sound knowledge of common collocations is essential to obtaining a decent score. This is because sometimes the blank is part of or one half of a collocation, so you would choose the word which best fits as a collocation.  In short, you will need to choose the option that best creates a natural-sounding phrase.

For example:

It was absolutely ------ (fascinating, joyful)

Absolutely fascinating is a common adverb + verb collocation and sounds more natural than absolutely joyful.

Common Types Of Collocations

  • Verb + noun
  • Noun +noun
  • Adjective + noun
  • Verb + adverb
  • Adverb + adjective

1. Adjective + Noun

Correct: deep sleep

Incorrect: low sleep

2. Noun + Noun

Correct: round of applause

Incorrect: group of applause

3. adverb + adjective

Correct: fully aware

Incorrect: outright aware

4. Verb+ Noun

Correct: give a speech

Incorrect: send a speech

Pearson PTE Academic Official Collocations List

Pearson has an official collocations list of 2496 collocations which can be downloaded from their official website.

However, it can be quite difficult to memorize long lists of collocations, which is why I recommend learning them through active reading. When you read try to pay attention to which words are naturally combined together. Take note of the different patterns and as you read make a lot of the different word types. Try to find all the nouns or verbs etc.

When you do memorize or learn new collocations, make sure you practice using them, by jotting down a few sentences. This will make it easier to commit them to memory.


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