4.8 Glossary - IELTS Collocations

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slight increase

slight increase /ˈslaɪtˈɪnkriːs/

a small increase

  • There's been a slight increase in the number of university applicants this year.

soaring crime rates

soaring crime rates /ˈsɔːrɪŋˈkraɪmˈreɪts/

describes crime rates rising very fast (to soar means to rise quickly and suddenly)

  • We're facing soaring crime rates in this city, and its about time the government took action.

spoilt brat

spoilt brat /ˈspɔɪəltˈbræt/

a child who behaves very badly and is given everything they want by their parents

  • Good parents do not allow their children to turn into spoilt brats.

stimulate growth

stimulate growth /ˈstɪmjəleɪtˈɡrəʊθ/


describes attempts made by a government to try and create the economy to grow

  • After the financial crisis, the government desperately tried to stimulate economic growth.

stroke of luck

stroke of luck /ˈstrəʊkəvˈlʌk/

describes having something lucky happening to you

  • I wasn't going to go on holiday but then I had a stroke of luck and won some money on the lottery!

strongly influence

strongly influence /ˈstrɔŋliˈɪnfluːəns/

to considerably affect somebody's actions, opinion, judgement etc. 

  • Her political opinion is strongly influenced by her parents.

subtle distinction

subtle distinction /ˈsʌtəldɪˈstɪnkʃən/

a small but often important difference between two things

  • In teaching, there's a subtle distinction between being friendly and being weak.


sudden shift

sudden shift /ˈsʌdənˈʃɪft/

a quick and unexpected change

  • There has been a sudden shift in opinion in favour of the ban on smoking in public.


take for granted

take (something) for granted /ˈteɪkfəˈɡraːntɪd/

to believe something is true without making sure or checking that it is first

  • She seemed to take it for granted that I would help her with her homework.

take up a challenge

take up a challenge /ˈteɪkʌpəˈtʃælɪndʒ/

to decide to do something that is difficult

  • I wasn't sure about signing up for the marathon as I have never done one before, but I've decided to take up the challenge!

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