Speak English Like A Native Speaker



Did you know that if you learned collocations and phrasal verbs you would sound more fluent in English? In today’s episode I explain what collocations are, and I give you examples of collocations. Enjoy :)

Episodes mentioned

[015] Learn English With Collocations (and Speak Like a Native Speaker)



You are listening to the English Made Simple show, this is episode number 158, number one hundred and fifty eight, numero ciento cincuenta y ocho.

Hello there amigos y amigas and welcome to the English Made Simple Show, my name is Milena from www.englishmadesimple.net.

How’s it going? I trust you are well. I trust you’ve been keeping yourself out of trouble and out of mischief. I trust that you’ve been behaving, which is good!

Guess what? For the first time in ages, I had a relaxing weekend! On the weekend I decided to binge watch cartoons by Walt Disney, on Netflix. It was really fun!

It was fun, brought back memories from my childhood.

Well, I couldn’t go anywhere, we had another heatwave in Adelaide. Well, it was really hot here in Australia, over 30 degrees Celsius, really hot!

But…nobody cares Milena as my husband likes to say. Nobody cares about your gibberish. Enough of chit-chat Milena.

So I said to my husband, Shoooosh. Just means, shut up.

I understand what he is trying to say, enough of gibberish Milena, the show must go on.

So guys, let me ask you this question: do you know how native speakers speak?

Did you know that when you use English in a casual conversation you don’t have to follow grammar rules that much? People often speak using slang or using contractions.

Some of you might know slang or don’t know any slang words. And do you really use contractions when you are speaking with somebody in English?

Have you tried it yourself?

So yeah, the native speakers use contractions a lot, they abbreviate things and they also use slang as well.

Ok, so guys, today’s show is going to be about simple phrases that you can use with native speakers and non-native speakers alike.

Today I want to talk about collocations.

I did mention before, about a hundred episodes ago, about 100 years ago haha…. what Collocations were, it was in one of the earlier episodes I did, episode number 15 I think.

Yup, that was episode #15. Where I talked about collocations. That was such a long time ago now, wow, time flies! Time flies indeed!

So let me use the same definition I used to explain what a Collocation is:

Collocations are words that are generally used together to make you sound more natural in English.

Collocations are just a combination of words that are put together. Well put together.

This is the way native speakers, speak. They use collocations, they use phrasal verbs, and they combine the two and create a sentence.

This is the secret to speaking English more fluently. Don’t tell anybody, it’s a secret ok?

This is especially the case for you guys who are at an intermediate level. If you want to improve your speaking, I recommend learning about Collocations and Phrasal Verbs.

This is what I teach in my Speak Easy program. The November program is closed now but the next time I run the Speak Easy program will be in January or February next year. So keep your eyes and ears open.

It’s important to practice collocations and phrasal verbs. Use them in sentences because that’s how the native speakers speak. Or just pay attention to how the native speakers speak.

For those of you who rely on Google Translator, you will notice that most of the time Google Translator will not translate something correctly because it doesn’t recognise a collocation.

Like for example, to take a shower.

I am going to use Spanish as an example. You can say it a couple of ways in Spanish.

One way is with one word. Ducharse.

Google translator shows it as: Get a shower.

Which is not correct if you wanted to say I want to take a shower. And it really doesn’t sound natural to say.

The proper way to say this is using a collocation with the word Take:

Take a shower.

Great, easy peasy japanesy.

Also, a similar example if you wanted to take a quick shower.

Native speakers say: a quick shower
But the translator may get confused and think that you meant a Fast shower. So it will tell you to say Fast shower instead of Quick shower.

I’ll just take a quick shower.

Am I making sense so far, guys? Great.

To make sense is a collocation as well.

We wouldn’t say do sense, we say: makes sense.

In Spanish it is: tiene sentido.

So far so good!

Ok guys, in today’s episode I will give you examples of some collocations that you can start using today.

I am going to share 14 words with you. These words which are easily recognisable, are used to form collocations:


The most commonly used words from this list are: MAKE, DO, TAKE, HAVE, GET AND GO.

But we won’t go into all of them today. We will continue later next week.

I will give you a few examples and you will quickly see what I mean by collocations.

I will use the word MAKE, because I think a lot of people can relate to this word and they would know it.

Let’s consider the first example:

Make a mistake.

We wouldn’t say: Do a mistake.

Even though the native speakers will understand you what you meant by Do a Mistake. But you wouldn’t sound natural to them. So the most natural phrase would be:

Make a mistake.

If you wanted to use it in the past tense. Remember guys, the word MAKE is an irregular verb so it becomes MADE in the past tense.

Let’s use an example in the past and present tense.

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.

Oops, I just made a mistake.

I make mistakes all the time! Cést la vie! It’s part of being human.

That was a very simple example.

The next time you think you said something wrong, remember, you can say, oops I made a mistake.

Or if you were Britney Spears you can say: Oops I did it again!
If you were Britney Spears you would not just say it, you would sing it. Oops I did it again blab la

Let’s be serious, let’s not sing Britney Spears songs.

So let me give you more examples using the word MAKE.

Make a mistake
Make friends
Make a cup of coffee
Make a decision or Make the right decision
Make sure

So these 5 or 6 phrases that I just shared with you, are the ones you would use often.

Like, make a cup of coffee: That’s what I say to my husband. Shut up and Make me a cup of coffee. Go!

And lastly, I have a trivia question for you. I want you to think really hard about this question.

Are you ready? Here it goes!


Which one sounds more natural? Let me give you a clue. I’ve mentioned it at the beginning of today’s episode. About 1 minute into the episode.

I will give you 3 seconds to tell me the answer. Make a question or do a question? Which one is correct?

I am sorry to say but you are all wrong!

If you chose: MAKE A QUESTION – then you’ve just made a mistake.
If you chose: DO A Question – you’ve also just made a mistake.

The correct answer is: ASK A QUESTION.


For example: Let me ask you a question.

How did you miss that? How could you miss that?
Oh well, I can’t really hear you guys because I am speaking into my microphone and I am looking at my computer, I am talking to myself most of the time. So I just assumed you have all made an incorrect choice. Because both were incorrect.

Well I hope you remember the correct answer for next time.

Ok, on the bright side, guys, we are approaching the end of today’s show.

Hope you enjoyed this one, hope you learnt something new.

This is the end.

Thanks for listening. You’ve been jamming with Milena from English Made Simple, you’ve been an awesome audience. Have an awesome rest of the week, keep out of trouble. Until next week. Hasta la proxima! Ciao!

Milena Vujnic

Milena Vujnic

Podcast Host at English Made Simple Podcast


Milena is the host of the English Made Simple Podcast and is passionate about helping English learners break their fear of speaking English so they can confidently make conversation and be understood by other English-speakers.

Milena lives in Australia with her Chileno husband and loves anything podcasting and online coaching and is honoured to be supporting and guiding immigrants from all over the world with her products, programs and coaching services.

Click here to learn more about how you can work with Milena.


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