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Family Collocations

Some words go together naturally and some words don’t. The ones that do, we call ‘collocations’. For instance, we say “play basketball” and not “play bowling”. Knowing which words go together and using them in the IELTS Speaking test, helps you speak correctly. Showing the examiner that you can use a range of collocations will get you a higher band score for ‘lexical resource’.

A very useful topic for the IELTS Speaking test is FAMILY. Collocations can help you talk about your family and families in general. Here are some examples:

(adverb) + adjective + family

- (very/really) loving family
- (extremely) close / close-knit family
- nuclear family
- extended family

verb + family

- to be part of a family
- to belong to a family
- to raise a family
- to bring up a family (phrasal verb)

(adjective) + family + noun

- (close) family relationships
- (strong/close) family ties
- (strong/close) family bond
- family gathering / get-together

This is a sample IELTS Speaking test question (Part 1) about FAMILY:

Q: Do you have a small or big family?
A: I have a large extended family. There are lots of aunts and uncles on both my father’s and mother’s side, which means I have lots of cousins too.

And here is a sample question for Part 2:

Q: Describe a famous family you know of.
A: Our royal family is very well known. They are very traditional and I would say they have a very strong family bond. Each member is polite and respectful to each other. Our queen has raised her family to behave like royals and they will continue to rule after her. Their family motto is actually “honour your family” and they do it.

Try to learn and use these collocations. Practise asking your friends questions about their families and listen to see which collocations they use!

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