Post 4 – Business Verbs & Expressions

13 Aug 2015

Top 10 common mistakes that people make when using collocations in business conversations

There are numerous words in the English language which have similar meanings. This makes it difficult sometimes to choose the appropriate term in the appropriate context, particularly for a non-native speaker. Let us have a look at some collocation mistakes and we will also see how to avoid them. These errors are typically made during our conversations at the workplace.

Verb + Preposition Errors

  1. Accused – Use ‘of’ instead of ‘for’
    • She accused him of stealing.
  1. Charge – Use ‘with’ instead of ‘of’
    • The man was charged with murder.
  1. Accustomed – Use ‘to’ instead of ‘with’
    • I’m accustomed to drinking hot beverages.
  1. Arrived – Use ‘at’ instead of ‘to’
    • He arrived at the station quite late.
  1. Anxious (troubled) – Use ‘about’ instead of ‘for’
    • They are anxious about the results.
  1. Anxious for = wishing very much – Use ‘for’ instead of ‘about’
    • Parents are generally anxious for their children’s wellbeing.
  1. Angry – Use ‘with/at’ instead of ‘against’
    • She was angry with / at him.
    • Also annoyed with, vexed with, indignant with a person, but at a thing.
  1. Aim – Use ‘at’ instead of ‘on’
    • He aimed right at the target.
    • At denotes direction: throw at, shout at, fire at, and shoot at
  1. Travel – Use ‘by’ instead of ‘with’
    • Sally traveled by train last night.
  1. Composed – Use ‘of’ instead of ‘about’
    • It is composed of some chemicals.

Top 3 Confused Words in Collocations

  1. Shortage & Shortness

Shortage: It means there is not enough of something. It is a noun

  • There is a shortage of trained singers in the industry.

Shortness: It means something is short by length. It is also a noun.

  • The shortness of his legs causes him a lot of difficulty in driving.
  1. So & Such

So: It is used in front of an adjective or an adverbs means ‘very.’

  • My husband is so patient.

Such: It is used as a determiner. It can also be used before a noun to show extremes. However, you cannot use it before an adverb.

  • He is such a patient friend.

Tip: Without a noun you would need to use so.

  1. See & to Watch

See: It means to be visually aware of what is around you.

  • I can see it is raining quite heavily.

To watch: It means to look at something for a fixed span of time, particularly at something that is moving.

  • I watched the show last night.

You watch things that move. E.g. TV shows, movies, sports or performances. We look at things that are still. E.g.  Photos, paintings, scenery etc.

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