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What’s the opposite of…?
Aims To make students aware that collocations aren’t always logical! Procedure Ask students to produce a corresponding list of adjective/noun collocations which form the opposite of those listed. This activity highlights the fact that adjectives can change their meaning when used in combination with certain nouns. As we did in class, this activity works well as a team race with the handout enlarged to A3 size, one for each team. The team that finishes first gets a point. The group then get one point for each correct answer.
Possible or not?
Aims To raise students’ awareness of how certain collocations are possible and others aren’t (even if they appear to be logical!) Procedure Give the students a list of sentences containing a mixture of natural and unnatural collocations. Students then try to work out which ones are correct and correct the ones which are wrong. This activity is particularly useful for mono-lingual classes as it can be adapted to include examples of collocations students often make mistakes with, due to L1 interference.
Food word partnerships
Aims To sensitise learners to word partnerships and encourage them to notice that many words occur in groups Procedure Prepare a series of between 8 and 10 sets of words which all form a strong word partnership with one word. e.g. 1. salad chicken cheese freshly made club
All of these words form a strong partnership with the word ‘sandwich’. Prepare at least 7 more sets of words and put their corresponding ‘partner’ at the bottom. Students match the headword (e.g. sandwich) with the appropriate set of words.
1 @Lake School
Follow up Prepare a short account of your last visit to a restaurant using some of these word partnerships. Tell it to your partner or follow it up with writing.
Call out the headword
Aims To recognise multiple partnerships between nouns and verbs Procedure Choose five verbs which all collocate with the same noun. Say each verb aloud to the class until someone/one group calls out the collocating noun. If the headword is called out after the first verb, the person/group gets five points; after the second verb, four points and so on. If nobody calls out after all five verbs, give the answer to them and come back to it later.
Aims To match strong word partners in a visually interesting manner Procedure This is a standard matching activity made more interesting by joining the word partnerships with intertwining wiggly lines. Students need to unscramble the lines to find collocates. Advantages are: self-correcting exercise, students can prepare their own. Extension The collocations in the activity above could be taken from an authentic text. Once they have matched the pairs of words, they then need to replace them into the original text. This highlights the frequency of collocations and will enrich their own writing.
Aims To practise and/or recycle previously learnt collocations Procedure Prepare a grid with collocations which have been previously studied. Students play the game in groups of 3 or 4. The cards are dealt out so that each student has an equal number and one card is placed face up in the middle of the group. Students then take it turns to place matching cards at either end of the existing line of cards (if a student cannot find a card that matches, they pick up a leftover card, (if there are none the student must miss a turn). Beware! – Unless the collocations are carefully chosen other combinations become possible and the game may be impossible to complete. Good resource 2 @Lake School Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
books for coursebooks, such as Cutting Edge, have these games ready for you to print and use.
Word order/rearrange sentences
Aims To recognise collocations at sentence level Procedure Choose a series of natural expressions and then change around the order of the words in the expressions. Students rearrange into the correct order. Alternative Cut up individual words from an expression and place in an envelope. Do the same with nine more expressions and put your class into pairs/groups of three. Each group has a short time to arrange the words into a phrase and write it down before putting it back into the envelope and passing it to the next pair/group.
Exploiting reading texts for collocations
Aims To help students recognise and learn collocations in context Procedure After reading a text and completing the reading exercises attention can be turned to the collocations in the text. This can be done in a number of ways but perhaps the simplest method is to get the students to complete a collocation table where part of the collocation has been deleted Alternatives (for Jigsaw Readings) 1. More advanced students can work in groups to design their own tables for other students to complete. 2. As a follow-up, students relay the information in their text to another student with a different text, using the collocations.
Aims To match strong collocations and then integrate them into a text Procedure Select a list of adverbs that form collocations with adjectives and ask students to match them. Once they have successfully matched them, give them one or two gapped texts which they complete using the same collocations. 3 @Lake School Email:email@example.com
Odd noun out
Aims To help students to discriminate between adjective/nouns which form strong word partnerships and those that do not Procedure Choose a number of adjectives where each forms a strong word partnership with up to 5 nouns. Add one more noun that does not collocate with the adjective and ask students to delete the odd one out. e.g. 1. BRIGHT idea green smell child day room
The odd noun out is ‘smell’ as it does not form a word partnership with the adjective ‘bright’.
Odd verb out
As the title suggests, this is the same activity as above but the nouns are replaced by verbs and the adjectives are replaced by nouns. e.g. 1. accept act on disregard follow ignore make ADVICE
The odd verb out is ‘make’ as it does not form a word partnership with the noun ‘advice’.
Team Collocation Deletion activity
Aims (This is for more advanced groups.) To help students recognise and practise collocations in context. Procedure Divide the class into teams of 3 or 4 and give each group a different newspaper article. The students then find 5-10 useful collocations in the text and delete one part of each collocation. The groups then swap texts and try and guess what the missing part is. Alternative : This kind of activity can be “controlled “ more easily by limiting the students to particular categories of collocation e.g. adjective + noun.
4 @Lake School
Aims To practise strong collocations with the verbs go, have and get. Procedure Tell your class about your weekend routine, using flash cards. Give them the headwords go, have and get and ask them to put each of the words/phrases under one of these verbs. Check together and then run through your story one more time, but this time your students tell you the story as you hold up your flashcards. Follow up with the same story as a gapped text which students complete.
Many of the activities listed here were taken/adapted from Implementing the Lexical Approach (1997) and Teaching Collocation (2000) by Michael Lewis of LTP
5 @Lake School