5 Most Common Adjective – Noun Collocations: Express, Chilly, Rich, Heavy, Strong


A collocation is two or more words that tend to be used together by native speakers of a language. The best way to understand a collocation is to see one in action:

This is strong coffee.

The collocation here is β€˜strong’ and β€˜coffee’. But what happens if we replace β€˜strong’ with a synonym like β€˜powerful’? Can we say β€˜powerful coffee’?

To a native speaker β€˜powerful coffee’ sounds strange and incorrect. So we need to know which words will work together to make word combinations that sound correct.

Most Common VERB NOUN Collocations 🍦

Most Common VERB NOUN Collocations ...
Most Common VERB NOUN Collocations 🍦

This is, of course, what makes collocations difficult for non-native speakers. You have to know which words go together, and the best way to do that is to learn them together.

There are a number of different word combinations that can make up a collocation. For example, there are verb + adverb collocations (agree completely) and adverb + adjective (fully aware). Strong coffee is an example of an adjective + noun collocation, which is what we shall be looking at in this lesson.

5 Most Common Adjective – Noun Collocations

Let’s start with some adjectives and see which nouns they are commonly used with:

1. express (adjective)

an express bus / coach / train (travelling very fast; operating very quickly)

  • Susan took the express train to the airport in order to save time.

express service / mail (for a letter / package)

  • Send the letter by express mail if you want it to arrive tomorrow.

an express wish / aim / purpose (clearly and openly stated)

  • I came here with the express purpose of speaking with the manager.

2. chilly (adjective)

a chilly day / night / wind chilly weather (too cold to be comfortable)

  • Take a jacket with you. It’s a chilly night.

a chilly reception (not friendly)

  • They gave him a chilly reception.

3. rich (adjective)

a rich person (having a lot of money or property)

  • She is one of the richest women in the world.

a rich history / culture / vocabulary (very interesting and full of variety)

  • This region has a rich history and culture.
  • He has a rich vocabulary.

a rich sauce / cake (containing a lot of fat, butter, eggs, etc. and making you feel full quickly)

  • The spaghetti was covered in a rich sauce.

rich colors / sounds / smells / tastes (strong or deep; very beautiful or pleasing)

  • The artist is famous for the use of rich reds in her paintings.

4. heavy (adjective)

a heavy book / bag / suitcase / load (weighing a lot)

  • The woman was struggling with a heavy suitcase.

heavy traffic / rain / snow (worse than usual)

  • The noise of heavy traffic can drive you crazy.

a heavy coat / sweater (made of a thick material or substance)

  • He put on his heavy coat and walked out into the snow.

heavy features (not delicate)

  • He was tall and strong with heavy features.

5. strong (adjective)

a strong person / animal / wind / current (having great physical or natural power)

  • He’s a strong athlete.
  • A strong wind was blowing.

a strong supporter / opponent (holding an opinion or a belief very firmly and seriously)

  • She was a strong supporter of the government.

a strong smell / taste / colour / accent (easy to see, hear, feel or smell)

  • He spoke with a strong Irish accent.
  • There was a strong smell coming from the rubbish bin.

strong coffee / cheese (containing a lot of substance or having a lot of flavour)

  • She drinks strong coffee.
  • He loves strong cheese.

Was this lesson useful for you? Let me know what do you think in the comments below!


Notify of
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

I need colocations lists