2469 Most Frequent Collocations in PTE Academic

Collocations are very important in PTE fill in the blanks. Collocations mean “how two words are used together in common language.” A collocation is two words that frequently go together for example “house” – a detached house, a semi detached house, a big house, a comfortable house, these are the words that often go together with the word house. Another example, “Good” and “Very good”, these two words often go together, extremely good, these two words are collocations because they go together.

A word or a series of words that often go together, how to use them each one is different that you need to know, how to use it.

And one thing that can really help you speak more frequently is “Learning Collocations”. We say “take a picture”, not “do a picture” or “make a picture”. We say “a quick shower”, not “a fast shower”. There is really no difference between “quick and “fast”, but it sounds more natural to say “a quick shower”.

The Academic Collocation List (ACL) comprises 2,469 most frequent and pedagogically relevant lexical collocations in written academic English. It was compiled from the written curricular component of the Pearson International Corpus of Academic English (PICAE) comprising over 25 million words.

The development involved four stages:

  • computational analysis of the corpus;
  • refinement of the data-driven list based on quantitative and qualitative parameters;
  • expert review;
  • systematization.

While using statistical information to help identify and prioritize the corpus-derived collocational items, we also employed expert judgement to ensure pedagogical relevance as well as usability. By highlighting the most important cross-disciplinary collocations, the ACL can help learners increase their collocational competence and thus their proficiency in academic English. The ACL can also support EAP teachers in their lesson planning and provide a research tool for investigating academic language development.

2469 Most Frequent Collocations

2469 Most Frequent Collocations


We would like to thank Professor Douglas Biber, Regents’ Professor, Applied Linguistics Northern Arizona University and Bethany Gray, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of English Iowa State University for conducting the computational analysis of the source corpus.

We would like to express our gratitude to Andrew Roberts, computational linguist, for tagging the initial collocation list and conducting the validation study of the Academic Collocation List. We are also grateful to the members of the expert panel: David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor; Geoffrey Leech, Emeritus Professor in English Linguistics, Lancaster University; Diane Schmitt, Senior Lecturer inEFL/TESOL, Nottingham Trent University; Della Summers, Dictionary Consultant; and Professor Lord Randolph Quirk, FBA.

Lastly, we would also like to thank Mike Mayor, Editorial Director, Dictionaries & Reference, Pearson, and Chris Fox, Managing Editor, Pearson for contributing valuable advice as well as John H.A.L. De Jong, Senior Vice President, Standards and Quality Office, Pearson for his support throughout the project.

Download Academic Collocation List (PDF)

Download Academic Collocation List (.xls)

2469 Most Frequent Collocations in PTE Academic
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