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Staff 19/04/2014
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There are a number of collocations for the verb ‘set’. It can be used in many different ways!
Here are some of the most common ones:

Set concrete things such as alarm clocks, timers etc. You can also set the time, date, rate, or a price.
Here are some examples:

  • He set his alarm clock for 5am.
  • He set the timer for 3 hours.
  • She had set the thermostat too high, so it was very hot in the house.
  • John had to set the time on his watch again, as it had stopped working.
  • He set the correct date and time on his new computer.
  • They had set the prices too high, and no one bought any of their items.
  • They had set a separate rate for friends and family, and a different one for other customers.

Set rules or regulations, such as guidelines, limits, and conditions. You can also set an example or precedent.
Here are some examples:

  • The school had set new strict rules ever since the riots broke out.
  • We recommend that you follow the set guidelines for best results.
  • Most store owners always set a limit to how much money a person can win from their fruit machines.
  • We will accept your offer, if you agree to abide by the conditions we have set.
  • Jeremy had set a very good example for the rest of his classmates.
  • The new ruling will set a legal precedent for the future.

Set can also be used with certain nouns to establish the way in which something is done, such as a tone, pattern or trend.
Here are some examples:

  • The opening speech given by the Mayor had set the tone for the conference.
  • There was no set pattern for the meetings; their manager preferred to use the element of surprise.
  • Without realising it, she had set a new trend in her town. So many people had copied her style. 

 

In terms of the future, you can set a target, goal, challenge, or task. Teachers can set homework, essays or exams.
Here are some examples:

  • She had set very high targets for herself, and worked hard to meet them.
  • His teacher had set him some goals that he was expected to meet by the end of semester.
  • Her friend had set her a challenge that was almost impossible to do!
  • Their mother had set tasks for everyone in the house. No one was allowed to go out unless everything had been done.
  • The coursework set by their teacher was extremely difficult.
  • I set homework for my students every lesson.
  • I will set an exam that you are all expected to take at the end of this course.

There are some collocations for ‘set’ with prepositional words, as follows:

  • Just as he had set the large painting down safely, the phone began to ring.
  • The traveller set off on his long journey to the South at dawn.
  • I have set aside some money this month for emergencies like our gas or electricity bill.
  • The bad press had set their business back by millions.
  • She had set some tasty homemade cakes before her guests.

Some more common collocations with set:

  • The vicious arsonists had set fire to the local museum. (Meaning lighting a fire in the building)
  • He had fallen in love the moment he had set eyes on her. (Meaning the first time he saw her)
  • They set the bird free once its injury had healed. (Meaning to release it into the wild)
  • Could you please help me set the table for dinner? (Meaning prepare the table for a meal)
  • All the builders had set to work as soon as they’d received their instructions. (Meaning they began the work that was assigned to them)

 

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