Saturday, March 30

Close or Closed?

Be careful, English learners. You might not know it but, actually, there are 2 different kinds of words when you say “close.”

Take a look:

Close (Adjective) = near, not far

Closed (Adjective) = shut, people can’t enter 

As you can see, because the 2 words are very similar to each other, it’s important to pronounce them carefully. Like this:

Close = klohs

Closed = klohzd

The sound at the end is important.

The Meaning of “Close”

I suppose that you are already familiar with the word “closed.”


The door is closed.

The museum is closed to the public.

On the other hand, the word “close” can be used in many different situations.

Here are 5 of its most common meanings:

# 1. Near

Ex. The closest bar to our hotel is 200 meters away.

Ex. The hotel is close to the convention center.

# 2. Soon

Ex. It’s close to summer vacation.

Ex. My birthday is getting closer!

# 3. About to do something

Ex. She was close to losing it. 

(about to become very angry)

Ex. She was close to tears. 

(about to cry)

# 4. Similar

Ex. The design is very close, but it’s not the same.

Ex. The taste is close to lemon.

# 5. Like or love each other very much

Ex. My sister and I are close.

Ex. I wanna be close to you.

Verb Closed vs. Adjective Closed

I hope it’s clear so far. Because right now, we’re going to introduce another word that might make things complicated.

Let’s learn the Action Verbclose.”

Close” (Verb) means to shut, stop operating etc.

So you can say:

They + close + the door.

They + close + the shop.

And, according to the different Tenses in English:

# 1. They close the shop (every day).

# 2. They are closing the shop (now).

# 3. They have closed the shop (already).

# 4. They closed the shop (a while ago).

# 5. They will close the shop (soon).

As you might have experienced, this is a bit confusing because it is very similar to the Adjectiveclosed,” especially the Past Tense (# 4).

But please don’t be confused:


They close the shop.

every day
The shop is closed.
They are closing the shop.

The shop is being closed.
They have closed the shop.

The shop has been closed.
They closed the shop.

a while ago

The shop was closed.
They will close the shop.

The shop will be closed.

In our table above, you can see that “Closed” sometimes becomes the Passive of the VerbClose.”

But as a matter of fact, it’s better to remember “Closed” just as an Adjective. Not as a Verb.

The window is closed.  = now

The window was closed. = last night

The window will be closed. = tonight

Open or Opened?

This is another problem of learners. But please remember that although the Adjective form looks like this:

The door is closed.

The Adjectiveopen” doesn’t have “ed” at the end.

The door is opened. = X

The door is open. = Ok


If you think “opened” is correct because you heard it somewhere, you might be thinking about the Verbopen.”


He will open the door.

He is opening the door.

He opened the door.

In the same way, Open (Verb) and Open (Adjective) are different.

Close vs. Closed vs. Close vs. Closed

In summary, I hope you aren’t confused between these 4 words:

Excuse me. Is the bank close? = near

Excuse me. Is the bank closed? = shut (Adjective)

Excuse me. What time do you close? = shut (Verb)

I can’t remember what time they closed. = shut (Verb; Past)

Hope You Learned Something! 

Wednesday, March 27


First, take a look at our phrases below. Then, tell me what you think of them: 

take a mistake

get an accident

take breakfast

eat medicine

make homework

What do you think?

If you feel that there’s something strange with all our examples, then you are correct. As a matter of fact, all of them are wrong.

But the real, more important question is: Why are they wrong? What makes them wrong?

If you study our phrases one by one, you will notice that according to grammar, there’s nothing wrong with them. Take a look:


a mistake

an accident

breakfast / lunch / dinner



The combination:

Verb + Noun

is very common in English. 

So, based on the rules of grammar, all our examples are Ok. It doesn’t matter which word we use because all of them are Verbs anyway.



In English, we have what we call “collocation.”

Collocation” means the combination of 2 or more words. These words very often come together or are used together by native speakers. So, we don’t separate or change these words.

 images courtesy of stock.xchng 

In fact, the Verbcollocate” comes from the Latin word collocatus, meaning: (1) com = together + (2) locare = to place.

So, “collocation” means words that usually stay together.

Consider our examples again:

take a mistake = X

get an accident = X

take breakfast = X

eat medicine = X

make homework = X

The grammar function of the words might be Ok, but it is rare or uncommon to hear these combinations of words.

As you can imagine, it’s difficult for non-native speakers to develop the “ear” to catch and realize such collocations in English.

How to Learn Collocations

When learners hear how native speakers use words, they don’t pay enough attention. This is the real problem. Maybe learners do care a lot, but they kind of ignore the words.

This is really bad because the only way to learn collocations is to copy them. You have to repeat exactly what the native speakers say. Memorize the combination, and then practice.

This is the only way to learn collocations because, like I told you, they are not part of grammar. Grammar can’t explain them and it’s useless to apply grammar rules on them.

More than grammar, collocations are like Vocabulary. So, keep them in mind and just copy.

I’ll give you 2 examples...

First, I used this phrase above: “pay attention.” Did you notice it?

I said that: “When learners hear how native speakers use words, they don’t pay enough attention.”

Right now, some of you might be getting confused because the Verbpay” is usually used together with money.

Yes, this is true. But not only in this case.

We also often combine: “pay + attention.”

And we also combine: “pay + a visit.”


No reason. It’s just the collocation or natural combination. If you don’t do it, it’s up to you. But your English won’t sound natural and it might sound funny to native speakers.

Here’s our 2nd example:

Well, sorry for this next example. It’s a bit negative but… what kind of Verb do we usually combine with the word “suicide?”

These are all wrong:

Do suicide

Have suicide

Make suicide

The correct answer is “commit + suicide.”


Again, no reason. Just collocation.

Collocation is Important

In summary, collocation happens when native speakers combine particular words but not others. There is usually no reason why they choose such words. But because many people keep using the same words together, when somebody (usually a non-native speaker) makes a different combination, it sounds weird.

Of course native speakers would probably understand what you mean or what you want to say, but your knowledge of collocation says something about your English level. Fluent speakers of English can follow good collocation.

Going back to our examples above, here are the right collocations:

make a mistake = Ok

have an accident = Ok

have / eat breakfast = Ok

take medicine = Ok

do homework = Ok

And here are other common collocations you can use:

Other Collocations in English

Break + a habit / a promise

Make / give + a speech

Break + a record
Make + a friend

Break + the law / rules

Make + a mess

Catch + a bus
Make + a noise

Catch + a cold
Make + tea / coffee

Do + damage

Make + the bed

Do + business
Show / pay + respect

Do + exercise

Take / Catch + a nap
Do + the shopping/ laundry / dishes

Take / do + an exam
Do + your nails / hair / teeth 

Take / have + a shower
Get + a boyfriend / girlfriend
Take / have + a vacation / holiday

Have / Get into + trouble
Take + a taxi / the bus/ the subway

Have + a chat / conversation
Take + a walk

Keep + a diary / journal
Take + lessons

Keep + a promise

Take + a look
Keep + a secret

Take + a rest
Keep + an appointment

Take + a chance

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

Any Questions?

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