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Learning Outcomes

By the end of VOCABULARY LEVEL 2 you should be able to
✔ study vocabulary independently
✔ use different strategies to expand and record vocabulary

Introduction to Independent Learning

Independent learning gives you more choice about what, when and how fast to study. It also prepares you to learn after complete full time education.

In order to study independently you need to be able to set your own aims, choose how you want to study and reflect on the usefulness of studying that you do and on your overall progress.

Since you have chosen to study VOCABULARY LEVEL 2, we can assume that you want to learn more about how to expand and remember words more effectively. The online activities are designed to help you to develop and build the bank of words and expressions that you have at your disposal.

Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Rating Form

Package 5 - Collocations

Learning outcomes

By the end of this section you should

✔ have an awareness of the different types of collocation
✔ be able to read a text and identify correct collocations
✔ be able to search for collocations in a newspaper and explain them


When two items occur together, or are used together frequently, they are said to collocate. When learning new words, it is a good idea to learn any typical collocations that go with them. The most common types of collocation are as follows:

Adjective + noun collocations:
heavy traffic; a loud noise; an invigorating shower; a formidable task

Verb + object noun collocations
she bites her nails (not: eats her nails)
to raise a family (not: lift a family)
to take medicine (not: eat medicine)
to surf the Internet (not: play on the Internet)

Verb + adverb collocations
to feel strongly about something (not: powerfully)
to fall badly and hurt oneself (not: wrongly)

Adverb + past participle (used adjectivally) collocations
badly behaved; fully insured; well cooked

There are no ‘rules’ for collocations and it is difficult to group words by their collocational properties. Thus, teachers and learners are more successful when they deal with common collocational problems in isolation or as they arise.

Activity 1
One out of the 4 words in each row does not collocate with the word in the first column. Click on the word.

  1. hard
    1. a) bed
    2. b) issue
    3. c) skin
    4. d) decision
  2. heavy
    1. a) workload
    2. b) sleeper
    3. c) responsibility
    4. d) compromise
  3. strong
    1. a) knowledge
    2. b) opinio
    3. c) interest
    4. d) personality
  4. high
    1. a) spirits
    2. b) explosive
    3. c) beliefs
    4. d) percentage
  5. deep
    1. a) feelings
    2. b) depression
    3. c) love
    4. d) example

Activity 2

Sometimes two words go together to form a set phrase. Match the words on the left with a word on the right.

Activity 3

You are going to read a text entitled ‘Flats from Hell’. Read the text and click on the correct collocation.

Flats from hell

In 1997, the Housing Authority launched/generated a programme called the Express Flat Allocation Scheme. This scheme is designed to help people who have waited years for public housing and who are not superstitious. Under the scheme are 3,000 unpopular flats. They are unpopular for various reasons.

The majority of dwellings are unpopular because they are located in wide/remote areas such as Lantau or the New Territories or are close to rubbish collection points. However, 100 flats are deemed as even more undesirable because they have been afflicted with gruesome events such as murder, suicide, fire or loan shark harassment.

One example of a ‘flat from hell’ is the Tin Shui Wai flat where a mother and her two daughters were hacked to death. The only police suspect in the crime was the victim’s husband, who died in hospital after spending 2 weeks in a coma/blackout. He was also found in the flat with three knife wounds/cuts to his stomach. Murder squad detectives are continuing their investigation.

At another flat in Sheung Shui, a woman threw her two sons aged ten and six out of the 14th floor window to their deaths before herself doing/committing suicide in the same way.  At another flat in Tsz Wan Estate, a man hanged himself after killing his 9-year- old son and seriously injuring his 12-year-old daughter.

Would-be/maybe tenants are not offered any rent/drop reduction for these flats. The main incentive is that the waiting list is very long and by accepting a flat on the undesirable list, people can jump/hop the queue’ and be housed more quickly.  A Housing Authority spokeswoman said “ All the flats have been refurnished before being rented out. We have to inform prospective tenants of the histories of the flats when they apply”.

When a tragedy occurs in a flat, even the neighbours want to vacate/empty their flats and find alternative housing. Many traditionally minded people think that ghosts will come back to haunt/scare the flat and that there is a bad omen or stigma attached to the surroundings.

More than 90,000 public housing applicants, who are now on the waiting list, are illegible/eligible to apply.

(Adapted from the SCMP)

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