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1000 English Collocations in 10 minutes a day

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Thanks for buying the e-book! 
In these 50 lessons, you’re going to learn 1000+ collocations that will expand your vocabulary and help
your English sound more natural.
Collocations are the typical or common combinations of words we use together.
Here are some simple examples:

take a picture
do a picture
make a picture

a quick shower
a fast shower

When you make mistakes with collocations, the other person will usually understand you – but your
English won’t sound “natural” – because it’s different from the way a native speaker would say it.
Although it’s possible to communicate successfully with incorrect collocations, using collocations
correctly can help you speak more fluently.
I suggest completing one lesson in this book per day, but of course you can study at your own pace.
Always do the quiz after each lesson… this is essential to review and practice what you’ve learned! The
answers are at the end of the book.
At the end of each audio file, there’s an opportunity for you to listen to and repeat the collocations. If
you’re really short on time, you can skip that part – but it’s nice for practicing your pronunciation, as
well as reinforcing the phrase in your memory.
As an additional exercise, I recommend creating your own example sentences with a few of the
collocations from each lesson. Try to make them as “personal” as possible, as this helps you remember
the expressions better.
If you have any questions, doubts, comments, etc., you can send me an e-mail at
Happy studying!
Shayna Oliveira
1000 English Collocations in 10 Minutes a Day
© Shayna Oliveira 2013
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Lesson 1 – Family
Let’s begin our study of collocations by learning some common expressions about the family. Your
parents and siblings (brothers and sisters) are your immediate family – and your extended family
includes all your relatives – uncles, cousins, great-aunts, etc.
You can use a family tree to diagram the relationships among your family members. A person who is
related to you by a long series of connections can be called a distant relative.
If you’re lucky, you have a loving family or a close-knit family – these expressions refer to a family that
has good relationships, where everyone loves each other and helps each other. If you were raised in a
loving family, then you probably had a carefree childhood – that means you had nothing to worry about
when you were young.
On the other hand, a family in which the relationships are bad or unhealthy can be called a
dysfunctional family. If the children experience abuse, poverty, or problems with the law, we can say
they had a troubled childhood.
Perhaps the parents went through a bitter divorce – that means a separation in which there were
bad/angry feelings between the husband and wife. It’s also possible to have a messy divorce, with a
prolonged legal battle involving lots of conflicts about the separation of the former couple’s assets
(money and possessions). The decisions about the separation of assets are made in the divorce
settlement. A family in which there are divorces or separations is sometimes called a broken home.
Sometimes the mother and father fight over custody of the children – that refers to who has the
primary responsibility of caring for the kids. A judge can grant joint custody – that means the exhusband and ex-wife share the responsibility – or sole custody to only one parent. For example, a judge
might award sole custody to the mother, and the father has to pay child support – regular payments to
help with expenses for the kids.
If it was a mutual divorce/separation – that means the ex-husband and ex-wife agreed to separate
without fighting – then they will probably stay on good terms with each other (meaning to have a polite
relationship without conflicts).
If a woman gets pregnant without being married or in a relationship, then she will become a single
mother. Some women in this situation choose to have an abortion, and others prefer to give the baby
up for adoption. The time when the baby is planned to arrive is called the due date – you can also say
the baby is due in mid-October, for example.
After the woman has the baby (or gives birth to the baby), the baby is given to the adoptive parents,
who will raise the child or bring up the child as if it was their own. Sometimes, when the adopted child
is older, he or she tries to find their birth mother (biological mother).

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Lesson 1 Quiz
Circle the best word to complete each sentence:
1. A friend of mine gave / took / went birth to her son at home with the help of a nurse.
2. A number of the kids in my classroom come from broken / damaged / hurt homes.
3. After a hostile / cruel / bitter divorce from his wife of 20 years, the actor married a woman
young enough to be his daughter.
4. I see my excepted / expanded / extended family once a year, during our annual family vacation.
5. I was raised in a very joyful / loving / tender family, in which everyone helped each other.
6. I was created / grown / raised by my grandparents after my parents passed away.
7. I'm on good friends / relations / terms with all my former boyfriends.
8. John had a carefree / careful / careless childhood, growing up with happily married parents and
three brothers.
9. Many women regret giving / having / taking an abortion years afterwards.
10. My aunt's going through a messy / sloppy / untidy divorce; she's paying a fortune in legal fees.
11. My husband doesn't get along with a few of my family people / individuals / members.
12. Although my salary is low, I get child assistance / provision / support from my ex-husband.
13. My sister got / had / made pregnant immediately after she got married.
14. My son is making a diagram of our family roots / tree / web for a school project.
15. My wife is pregnant with twins. They're come / due / here in February.
16. Sally was granted sole custody / guardian / keeping of the children from her first marriage.
17. Teenagers who had a distressed / troubled / worsened childhood often have behavior
problems in school.
18. The celebrity wrote a book about his debilitated / defective / dysfunctional family.
19. The divorce contract / reimbursement / settlement awarded the wife $500,000.
20. There are four people in my close / immediate / neighboring family.
21. They have three biological children and two adopted / adoptive / adopting children.

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Lesson 2 – Relationships
When you move to a new city, it can be hard to make friends. You’ll probably have a number of casual
acquaintances – people who you know on a basic level, but with whom you don’t have a significant
relationship. Over time, some of these may become good friends or close friends – these collocations
refer to friends with whom you have an especially strong relationship.
Do you believe in love at first sight? That’s when two people meet each other and immediately fall in
love – perhaps because they have strong chemistry – this expression describes strong compatibility or
connection between two possible romantic partners. Some people believe that their significant other
(their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife) is their soul mate – this is a poetic expression that means
that two people are destined to be together.
It’s possible for one person to have feelings for another person – this expression is an indirect way to
describe romantic feelings – but if the other person doesn’t feel the same way, then the feeling is not
mutual. The other person might say “he’s/she’s just not my type” – meaning that they are interested in
people of a different type of personality/appearance. Ah, there’s nothing sadder than unrequited love!
(Love that is not returned)
Some people marry their childhood sweetheart or high school/college sweetheart – this expression
refers to a boyfriend or girlfriend from your childhood, teenage, or college years. Other couples are
introduced by a mutual friend – one friend that the two people have in common. When the couple is
ready to make a commitment, the man proposes to the woman – he asks her to marry him. If the
marriage is good, then we say the couple is happily married.
Unfortunately, not all love stories have a happy ending. Sometimes a husband or wife has an affair –
they have sex with a different person. We can also say that they are cheating on their husband/wife.
The expression “have an affair” is typically used only for married couples, and the expression “cheating
on” can be used for married couples or for boyfriends/girlfriends.

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Lesson 2 Quiz
1. The process of creating friendships is called...
a) getting friends

b) earning friends

c) making friends

2. A "close friend" is someone...
a) who lives near you

b) who is similar to you

c)with whom you have a strong friendship

3. When you develop romantic feelings for another person, you're...
a) becoming passionate

b) falling in love

c) giving your heart

4. If only one of the two people has romantic feelings, we say the feeling is not...
a) mutual

b) returned

c) together

5. A polite way to say you're not attracted to someone is: "He/she's not my..."
a) kind

b) style

c) type

6. A man who marries a woman who he met when both were very young, has married his childhood...
a) darling

b) lover

c) sweetheart

7. When two people get married, they make a ___________ to each other.
a) commitment

b) compromise

c) guarantee

8. Many men try to find a creative and romantic way to __________ to their girlfriends.
a) propose

b) proposition

c) purpose

9. A lot of marriages end when one member of the couple has an...

b) experience

c) intimacy

10. If you catch your significant other in bed with another person, then he/she is _________ on you.
a) betraying

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b) cheating

c) deceiving


Lesson 3 – Appearance
My best friend Joanna is absolutely gorgeous (extremely beautiful). She has long, sleek, jet-black hair
(sleek = smooth and straight, jet-black = perfectly black), pale blue eyes (pale = light color), and a
radiant complexion (skin that appears healthy and full of energy).
People always compliment her on her hourglass figure (when a woman has large breasts and hips, but a
small waist) and ask her what the secret is to maintaining such a slender waist (a thin waist). She has a
round face with an upturned nose, and she actually bears a striking resemblance (looks extremely
similar) to a famous singer.
Joanna could get any guy she wanted – so I was really surprised when she introduced me to her latest
boyfriend, who I think is hideously ugly. He has curly, shoulder-length hair that looks rather unkempt
(unkempt hair = messy hair, it appears that the person doesn’t take care of their hair).
He has a square face and a ruddy complexion (reddish skin). His deep-set eyes (eyes that are far back in
the person’s face) are almost hidden under his bushy eyebrows (big eyebrows with lots of hair), and he
sports a thick mustache and a huge, shaggy beard (a beard with lots of hair). I guess Joanna doesn’t
mind his facial hair (facial hair = beard and/or mustache).
His body isn’t bad – he has an athletic build (body with a lot of muscles), with broad shoulders (wide
shoulders) and muscular arms. If he would only trim his beard (cut his beard a little shorter) and comb
his hair, I suppose he could be considered somewhat attractive (more or less beautiful/handsome).

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Lesson 3 Quiz
comb / curly / deep-set / facial / medium / muscular / radiant / slender / striking / trim
1. This moisturizer will give you a __________________ complexion.
2. She has a __________________ waist and wide hips.
3. He bears a __________________resemblance to a good friend of mine.
4. I've never liked my __________________ hair; I wish it was straight.
5. His __________________eyes make him look very pensive.
6. I love men with __________________ hair - I think it's sexy.
7. Would you please __________________your hair? It looks like you've just gotten out of bed.
8. I’m not changing my hairstyle – I’m just getting a __________________.
9. He has a __________________ build - he's not particularly strong, but not especially skinny either.
10. My soccer coach has very __________________ legs.

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Lesson 4 – Character & Behavior
When I was a teenager, I was painfully shy (extremely shy). I loved reading books, and I had a vivid
imagination (had a creative and colorful imagination). My best friend had a more outgoing personality
(she liked to be friendly and sociable) and a good sense of humor (ability to make other people laugh).
Unfortunately she was also brutally honest, and sometimes her comments hurt my feelings (made me
sad, upset, or angry).
Although I was fiercely loyal to her, she showed her true colors (revealed her true personality) when she
played a prank (did a trick) that humiliated me in front of the class. I bore a grudge (continued feeling
angry) against her for years afterwards. Now that I look back on it, I can see that she had low selfesteem (she considered herself inferior) and a bit of a mean streak (a “streak” is a tiny bit of someone’s
I've come out of my shell (become less shy) since those days; I have a thicker skin (I’m less sensitive to
criticism) and it doesn't bother me when people speak their minds (say exactly what they think, without
considering the effects of the words on others).
My biggest flaw is that I have a tendency to be arrogant – some say I have a superiority complex
(consider myself superior to others). I’ll admit that it is hard for me to swallow my pride (stop being
arrogant) and recognize when I've been mistaken about something. My resolution for the New Year is to
make a more concerted effort to put others first (consider the needs of other people more important
than my own).

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Lesson 4 – Quiz
1. A lot of successful entrepreneurs have not only a bright / lucid / vivid imagination, but also the
willingness to work hard.
2. He really hurt my emotions / feelings / senses when he called me an idiot.
3. His superiority belief / complex / tendency makes him impossible to work with because he
won't listen to suggestions.
4. I had to chew / eat / swallow my pride and apologize to Janet for overreacting to her criticism.
5. I like to date men with a great feel / sense / touch of humor.
6. In some cultures, it's considered very rude to say / speak / talk your mind.
7. It's good to get / put / set others first, but not at the expense of your own well-being.
8. Most people who work as comedians have very outgoing / tendency / upcoming personalities.
9. My brother is brutally / carefully / painfully shy, but I'm trying to encourage him to come out of
his case / shell / skin.
10. My daughter gets along with her classmates, but she has a competitive spot / streak / strip
when it comes to academics.
11. My husband forgives other people very easily; he's not one to bear / hurt / swallow a grudge.
12. She would never cheat on her husband; she's angrily / brutally / fiercely loyal to him.
13. The kids were suspended for playing a grudge / prank / streak on the teacher - they put a live
snake inside her desk.
14. Working with a therapist has helped me overcome my problems with deep / low / small selfesteem.
15. You need to develop a fatter / harder / thicker skin; you can't let every little comment upset

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