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010 Collocations for plans and decision making

Hi, and welcome back to the Art of Business English. In today’s episode we are going to take a quick look at some collocations to use when making plans or taking decisions. Both, very important aspects of business. Remember, collocations are very common in English, they help you sound more native and you need to understand them in context, especially when a speaker uses them. Therefore, the advantages to knowing them are that, even if you do not use them yourself, at least you will understand when one is spoken to you.

At the end of this episode you will be able to use a number of collocations for the following situations:

  1. Making decisions & offering solutions
  2. Making plans
  3. Rejecting plans

Before we start looking at the collocations, I will just give you a quick explanation of what a collocation is. The oxford dictionary defines a collocation as;

“The habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance.”

Unfortunately, most non-native speakers of English will not understand this definition. An easier definition is the following;

“A collocation is a combination of two or more words that are commonly used together, in a way that sounds natural to native English speakers.”

So, why are they important in English. Well, if you want to sound more like a native speaker you need to use the correct words together. Hence, instead of “take a coffee” we say, “have a coffee”.

Now that we know what collocations are and why they are important, let’s dive in and take a look at decisions and solutions.

Decisions & solutions

  • To be toying with an idea – This means to be considering something but not in a focused way. I am toying with the idea of changing jobs, but I am not sure if it is the right decision. 
  • To unveil a plan – to show or make known for the first time. The company unveiled its plan to investors before going public.
  • To drum up support – To increase support for something. We need to drum up some support for this proposal or it will never get accepted. 
  • Acting on a suggestion – To do something as a result of a suggestion. The boss acted on a suggestion from his sales manager to offer a discount. 
  • To clear up – To resolve. We had to clear up the misunderstanding before we could close the deal. 
  • To stick to the schedule – Keep to a plan. The company promised to stick to the building schedule and ensured the project would be finished on time. 
  • Cover every eventuality – To consider all possible situations and difficulties. We need to cover every eventuality before we can give the OK.
  • Give rise to – Cause to happen or occur. This decision could give rise to some negative consequences. 
  • To put off – To avoid doing something or postponing. We decided to put off the planning until we had adequate funding.

There are many more collocations associated with decision making, and I encourage you to look some up if you are interested in learning more.

Now we will look at some collocations for making plans.

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Making plans

  • To come up with an idea – To think of an idea, generally after a brainstorming session. We came up with some great ideas for the annual Christmas party, at Monday’s meeting.
  • To be underway – In the process or being done or carried out. Preparations are underway, and we expect to be able to start stage one of the project soon.
  • The necessary groundwork – preliminary or basic work. The team has put in the necessary ground work and we feel confident we have a well-organised project.

Again, these are a few collocations for making plans and there are many more. However, now I will move on to the last part of the episode and take a look at rejecting plans.

Rejecting plans

  • To declare outright opposition – To be completely against something. The CEO declared his outright opposition to the merger plan.
  • To offer constructive criticism – Useful disapproval. Even though she didn’t like the plan, she did offer some constructive criticism.
  • To unanimously vote down – All members vote against. The board of directors unanimously voted down the budget proposal.
  • To turn down – To reject or refuse. We thought we had a great plan, however management turned it down. 

Final thoughts

There you have a short list of some interesting collocations for different stages of planning and decision making. My advice to you is to study this list and then make a commitment to use some of the expressions in your next meeting, email or conference call.

The secret to learning collocations is to understand them in context and then start applying them to situations in your daily business life. I would recommend starting with 2 or 3 collocations from the list and then once you feel comfortable using them, grab another 2 or 3 and incorporate them as well.

That is all we have time for today, but as always, please feel free to leave a comment or share this with some friends. If you do have any questions, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us a www.theartofbusinessenglish.com or on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theaobe

Until next time, take care and enjoy improving your business English.

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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