Collocation refers to the way in which words are naturally paired together. Such language patterns are generally only acquired intuitively or consciously learned. This article provides a few tips on how to encourage students to ‘pick up’ collocations.
Among the most common usage errors in any language are those that have to do with the use of collocations–words that ‘go’ together in idiomatic and common usage. We almost instinctively pick up the use of these seemingly natural pairings of words as we read and listen to language. There is no logic to these pairings, they just are. So how do we teach correct word combinations other than simply by asking students to learn them by rote?