2500 Most Common Collocations in Academic English

In this post you will learn about the importance of collocations, plus you can download a free PDF to help you learn the most common collocations in English. So read on!

If you want to write English naturally, then you need to have an understanding of collocations.

Collocations are words that commonly go together.

For example, to describe a large amount of road vehicles moving slowly in English, we use the phrase “heavy traffic”. But we don’t use the phrase “thick traffic” or “intensive traffic”.

Other examples of common collocations in English include ”pay attention“, “fast food“, “make an effort” and “take the IELTS test”.

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collocations

IELTS Writing Band 7: Lexical Resource

If you are aiming for Band 7 or higher in IELTS Writing, then you need to show some awareness of collocations.

In  other words, you need to show that you know how some words go together naturally.

The Academic Collocations List

The following list contains 2,469 of the most common and most useful collocations in written, academic English.

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It is a list called the Academic Collocations List, which was created by Kirsten Ackermann and Yu-Hua Chen using a database of academic language, and further reorganised by Sheldon Smith of the EAP Foundation.

How The Academic Collocations List Is Organised

The list is organised under “headwords”. A headword is the most important word, usually a noun or a verb.

Next to each headword you can find derivatives of each headword. For example, under the headword “accept” you can find collocations with “acceptable” and “acceptance”, as well as “accept”.

To make the collocations easier to find, they have been listed twice if they contain two headwords. For example, you can find the collocation “cognitive ability” under both “cognitive” and “ability”.

How to use this list

You can simply study the collocations in this list, or you can use it as a reference tool when you are writing.

For example, if you want to use the word “agree” (or its derivatives, “agreement” or “disagree”), then you can look up the word in the list to see its most frequent and useful collocations.

Please note that the collocations in this list are not the only possible collocations. This list just contains the most common and most useful ones for academic writing such as the IELTS Writing Test.

I hope you find this resource useful!

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Posted in IELTS Writing Task 1, IELTS Writing Task 2.

Charles Cornelius is a PGCE and CELTA-qualified teacher and former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. He has worked for some of the major English language schools including International House, IDP and The British Council. He holds a MA in Education from the University of Bath. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 70,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

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