Academic collocations

time to complete: 15 minutes

Academic collocations are collocations that are useful for your academic studies. It is exactly the same idea we explained earlier, but the focus is on academic vocabulary. Learning how academic words collocate will help you make your academic writing and speaking more accurate and natural.

Let’s have a look at some examples of adjective + noun collocations.



a clear understanding of

strong evidence

to a certain extent

a possible solution

an easy understanding of

vigorous evidence

to a sure extent

a probable solution

Where do I find collocations?

Now, you might be wondering where you can find and study collocations. A good place to start would be a monolingual dictionary (English – English), as it contains information on collocations and example sentences from which you can extract useful collocations, as shown in the example of the dictionary entry for ‘analysis’:

Screenshot adapted from Analysis (2020)

Screenshot adapted from Analysis (2020)

Let’s try an example together. Do the following task to practise looking up an academic word in a dictionary and identifying useful collocations.

Task: Use the dictionary below and search for the noun ‘evidence’. Look at the first definition of ‘evidence’ and the collocations box. Once you’ve studied these, complete the task that follows.

More tools?

Another dictionary that includes information on collocations is Collins. To find collocations, search for the academic word of your choice (1) and click on COBUILD Collocations (2). You can click on any of these collocations (3) to see how they are used in sentences.

Screenshot adapted from Collins (2021)

You might also want to use the website just-the-word. To find collocations, type the word of your choice (1) and click on combinations (2). The results are organised in various grammatical relationships (3) e.g. verb+noun, adjective+noun, etc. To read examples of a collocation in context, click on the collocation (4).

add screenshot later

Screenshots adapted from just-the-word (Edmonds 2021)