SKILLS | Using online resources (Lexical Tools)

LANGUAGE FOCUS | Collocations and Lexical Chunks

1) The first site is, an online collocation dictionary.

You can discover, for example, what adjectives have a tendency to describe advice:

2) Naturally, you might ask yourself which of these adjectives might be the best to use. By best, I mean occurring most frequently. There are two sites that can be checked: Ngram and

Let's say you want to check 'constructive advice', 'helpful advice' and 'excellent advice':

You can infer from this result that helpful might have a stronger connection. It should be pointed out that the database searched is taken from books and not spoken English.

You can also use Netspeak to find out the same results:

So, try this out when you are not sure which word combination might sound the least awkward.

Now, you might ask yourself which noun frequently collocates with constructive:

3) My other favourite resource is for pronunciation. This site allows students to hear a word or phrase used in a multitude of contexts. One word that gives my students some pronunciation trouble is hierarchical. Click to hear a sample.

Complete and Submit the Google Form

LANGUAGE FOCUS | Idioms Related to Competition

Why are idioms difficult to learn, remember and use?

Idioms are figurative.

Even if you understand each word individually, you will have difficulty coming up with the idiomatic meaning.

One of the best ways to remember the phrase is to attach a visual to it.

Let's introduce the idioms with a Kahoot. Make sure to focus on the image before selecting your answer.

Next, when you are finished, watch this video to check your memory, remembering to try and think of the image when connecting to the meaning.

A listening exercise that will help you pick out the key words when listening which usually include nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. and not grammar words like articles, prepositions and so on.

Remember that this is only a part of a larger lesson and to get the full impact you need to book a private online class.

©2019 by Rob Amo | Study ESL Online, Toronto, Canada

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