Grammar Lesson C [B1+]


There are verbs that go naturally with some nouns. There are many verb + nouns collocations in everyday life:

  • make the bed = tidy the bed
  • do sports (alone or in a team) OR play sports (in a team)
  • kick a habit = to finally stop a bad habit or behaviour (e.g. kick a smoking habit)

If you use the wrong verb with a noun, it sounds odd and can confuse or even change the meaning of what you are saying!

Similarly, there are many collocations in healthcare, and it is important to speak accurately with patients about treatment and outcomes, so you do not confuse them or make them worry.

Some healthcare collocations

  • catch a cold           e.g. Do you often wheeze when you catch a cold?


  • take effect = to start to solve a problem        e.g. It might take two or three days for the antibiotics to begin to take effect, so be sure to take them as prescribed.


  • have an effect on = to cause a change in some way, good OR bad        e.g. Drinking too much alcohol late at night can have a bad effect on your sleep pattern.

Note changing the verb from ‘take’ to ‘have’ changes the meaning. Imagine how a patient might become confused if you mixed up the verbs!

Another example where a change in verb changes the meaning:

  • perform surgery ( = do surgery)  e.g. The surgeon performed my knee surgery last month.


  • undergo surgery (= have surgery done on you) e.g. I underwent knee surgery twice last year. 


Practice repeating aloud each example sentence in this tutorial. Focus on the common collocations, running them together until they flow as one expression.  The collocations are underlined.


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