Useful Vocabulary: Collocations in writing

A collocation is a sequence of words or terms that co-occur more often than would be expected by chance. Instead of going through technicality we are introducing few workable set of words which can be definitely used in Business English, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS.

Have

  1. have a drink

Usage: offer a drink (for free off course)

Example: “Let’s have drinks and try to see through our problems.”

  1. have a problem

Usage: use this collocation to introduce the problem

Example: “Do you have a problem with that?”; “Just let me know if you have any problem”; “Sir, I am having a problem with office timing”

Do

  1. do business

Usage: use this collocation to imply someone owns a particular business

Example: “We do business in textiles.”, “What business do you do?”

  1. do the shopping

Usage: use this collocation to describe the process / habbit of shopping

Example: “He does his shopping only at big malls as he is brand conscious.”

Make

  1. make money

Usage: gain

Example: “You must enter new markets now to make money.” “Making money now a days is not matter of hard work.”

  1. Make progress

Usage: to move forward from current state in business or other affairs

Example: “Your child is making significant progress.” “Our project is not making progress, in spite of recent additions to the team.”

  1. Make an effort

Usage: Attempt

Example: “Make It doesn’t matter to me one way or another, but I wish you would at least make an effort at seeing his side of it.”

Take

  1. Take a chance

Usage: try luck at

Example: “It is very obvious that Government may fail in this project, but at least they must take a chance. Who knows, they may succeed?”

  1. Take a look

Usage: to look with attention

Example: “I would be fortunate, if you take a look at my new blog.”, “Did you take look at yourself, before making such a bold statement?”

General

  1. Incredible performance/tale/wealth/talent etc.

Usage: used to describe something, which is beyond expectations

Example: “Our company has, once again, delivered incredible performance.”, “In spite of incredible talent, India is lacking innovation.”, “For incredible performance in GRE, you must work on your vocabulary.”

  1. Stringent action/steps/guidelines/measures/punishment etc.

Usage: used to state actions/steps…., which are strict and must be followed without doubt

Example: “India must take stringent actions against countries sponsoring terrorism.”, “To score better in IELTS, one must follow stringent guidelines.”

  1. Unwanted consequences

Usage: used to describe results which are not expected or considered

Example: “Fair competition and open market are greatest outcomes of Capitalism but empowerment of wealthy is unwanted consequence.”

  1. Dire consequences

Usage: used to describe which are not only unexpected but ghastly and detrimental

Example: “If you do not comply with the tyrant King, your actions may lead to dire consequence”

  1. Inevitable consequence

Usage: used to describe results which are obvious and follow naturally

Example: “Inevitable consequence of ignoring basic Mathematical formulae is low scores in Quantitative section on you GRE.”

  1. Utter failure

Usage: used to describe results/attempts which end up in absolute failure even without any partial positive outcome

Example: “Attempting speaking section of TOEFL without even practicing home ends up in utter failure.”

  1. Sheer ignorance

Usage: used to describe unqualified or complete lack of knowledge

Example: “John was surprised by the format of speaking section on TOEFL. He blamed his sheer ignorance on tutor.”

  1. Grave negligence

Usage: used to describe apathy/ inattention towards something

Example: “The committee remarked his grave negligence, and attributed the ghastly accident to his attitude.”

  1. Adequate resources

Usage: used to describe resources at disposal to solve an issue is good enough

Example: “If you want to perform better on GRE, senior’s notes are not adequate resources.”

  1. Appropriate action/solution

Usage: used to describe suitable action/ solution

Example: “Owing to recent incidence in India, Prime Minister must take appropriate actions.”

  1. Workable solution

Usage: used to describe a feasible fixture/ solution for the task at hand

Example: “As far as pollution is concerned, reducing carbon emission is the only workable solution.”

Keep visiting us for more such collocations. Your suggestions are more than useful for us.

Best Practices in Business Writing

Our last blog, “Organization in Writing” was very well received. Thanks for your responses. In this blog we hope to explain few things about the writing process itself.

Writing process consists of four main stages as follows

  1. Data collection
  2. Pre-writing
  3. Writing
  4. Editing

Data collection

In this age of Information, data is single most valued commodity. We are always exposed to information. However, collecting, storing and using right information at appropriate stages is the key to effective writing. In this stage, you focus entirely on data collection, which you may find useful later. Hence, you are constantly in this stage, keeping your eyes and ears open for information on interesting topics. Following can be very effective sources:

  1. Books
  2. News
  3. Blogs
  4. Social Media
  5. Radio
  6. Discussions/ Meetings
  7. Interviews

Pre-writing

Pre-writing stage comes as and when you decide to pen down your thoughts on paper. It starts with brainstorming on the topic. Brainstorming is a quick way to generate a lot of ideas on a subject. The purpose is to make a list of as many ideas as possible without worrying about how you will use them. Your brainstorming diagram may include words, phrases, sentences or even questions.

To brainstorm, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by writing a topic in a rectangular box.
  2. Write down as many ideas about the topic as you can in 5 minutes.
  3. Add more items to your list by answering the questions what, how, when, where, why and who.
  4. Group similar ideas.
  5. Understand relations like cause-effect, consequences, lists, examples, advantages / disadvantages etc. between the ideas and mark them.
  6. Think of relevant examples especially if you are writing an essay.
  7. Check for relevancy with audience, subject boundaries and occasion.

bUSINESS WritngAbove image shows brainstorming diagram.

Writing

Outcome of previous activity acts as guideline at this stage. From childhood, an idea of havinga great start to the essay is imbibed in your mind. Let us tell you good news; it is alright to have an average start. Focus on the writing all considered points first. During editing stage you may revise your introduction. We will discuss “Parts of writing” in next week.

Write relentlessly without stopping. Frequent checking and stopping in between for corrections, breaks the flow. Also, if you stop in between, your mind might be diverted to related issues. You lose focus, which in turn results in loss of concentration. Repeated interruptions make you blind to your own mistakes, which lead to erroneous writing and ultimately frustration.

While writing, guidelines given in our previous blog “Organization in writing” can be very useful. You may also choose to use following guidelines,

  1. Start writing relentlessly.
  2. Do not waste time correcting yourself at this stage. You have next stage to correct yourself.
  3. Remember to use following orders while writing to sound more logical
  4. Order of Organization by Grouping
  5. Organization by Time
  6. Organization by Order of Importance
  7. Organization by Space

Editing

At the end of previous stage you have yourself, few ideas jotted down on your computer screen. Now, start proof-reading your written piece.

  1. While reading, look for logical sense. Ask yourself,
    1. Did I cover all points?
    2. Did I write them in logical fashion?
    3. Did I use appropriate order?
  2. Next, look for clarity of concepts. Many people like to believe that the more complex they write, better they sound. Please make sure one sentence is used for one idea. Don’t write sentences having multiple ideas. They only confuse your readers.
  3. Once this part is taken care of, we advise you to look for grammatical mistakes and correct them. Check for consistency of tenses, dates, persons and subject-verb confirmation.

We hope this blog helps to organize your writing better. These tips are valid for Business Writing, GRE, IELTS and TOEFL. You may visit us here, to know more about Business English course.

Organization in Writing

Writing is a type of communication, usually with standard structure and style. It addresses the needs of audiences and has prose and lists for a particular area that concerns business. Writing is very important in all phases of one’s life, as it creates an image of writer in the reader’s mind. A person with excellent writing skills unknowingly earns respect of his peers and looked upon as a sincere employee by the seniors. Now many may complain that writing is a tedious task. Yes writing is difficult, but good news is that it can be learnt and practiced.

Through series of blogs, we are going to take a short course in written communication.

One of the most important parts of writing is organization of the ideas. Proper organization of the ideas help, people paint a mental picture of written communication. It helps in understanding and eventually evaluating an idea. Ideas can be organized based on many criteria. Following are few important ones

  1. Organization by Grouping
  2. Organization by Time
  3. Organization by Order of Importance
  4. Organization by Space

Organization by Grouping

Ideas in writing can be organized by grouping them in relevant groups. Such grouping helps reader paint a mental picture of what is being described about. Clearer the list of groups, better is the mental picture. For instance, while describing countries, reader would be disturbed to see any cities mentioned in same line. To explain the point further, look at following paragraph.

For example

It is interesting to visit foreign countries. You can meet new people. You can eat different kinds of food. It is expensive. You can see the way other people live.

In the above paragraph, all ideas are relevant with main idea, ‘It is interesting to visit foreign countries’ except the idea that ‘It is expensive’ which in fact is a counterpoint of the main idea.

Organization by Time

Time sequence or chronology explains an important role in writing or reporting events. It gives a factual account of incidents in a way which can be easily understood and examined.

For example

I had a terrible Sunday. First I woke up an hour late because my alarm clock in mobile failed as mobile was discharged. Then, I was in such a hurry that I burned my hand when I was making breakfast. After breakfast, I rushed for the Soccer practice. I really feel that everyone should play soccer in life. As I reached the bus stop, I realized, I had forgotten my wallet at my desk. I literally sprinted back home and collected the wallet. I had to wait for 20 minutes as bus frequency on Sunday is comparatively rare. By the time I reached the ground, my friends were almost half way through the practice. My coach was angry. After practice, on my way back, I first went to supermarket to buy groceries and then to laundry to pick up my clothes.

As can be seen while, reading above paragraph, the sentence, ‘I really feel that everyone should play soccer in life’ distracts the attention. Other sentences build a nice account of unfortunate Sunday of the author.

Signal Words

First

Second

Then

Next

Before

After

As

Later

finally

Organization by order of importance

It is very important to recognize order of importance while discussing events, logical ideas, consequence, lists etc. This arrangement allows reader to rate the important points at start.

For example

There are many ways to learn a new language. The best way is to talk with native speakers. One way is to spend a lot of time watching television and listening to the radio. Another way is to take classes at a language school or university.

As can be seen, if ways of learning languages are arranged in order of importance, it is very easy to recognize best practices to learn a new language.

Signal Words

First of all

Second

For one thing

The next + noun

Also

In addition

Another + noun

Moreover

Most important + noun

Organization by Space

When you describe space, you use space order to explain where things are located. The easiest way to do this is to choose starting point. Then you describe where things are located with respect to previously described thing.

For example

My bedroom is a special place. Like most rooms, it is a rectangle. When you walk in the door, the first thing you notice is the large window on the back wall. It has a beautiful view of the garden.

Signal Words

On

Besides

In front of

In corner

Above

Next to

Both sides

Left hand

Below

We hope this blog helps to organize your writing better. These tips are valid for Business Writing, GRE, IELTS and TOEFL. You may visit us here, to know more about Business English course.