Improve your Vocabulary for IELTS – Collocation of Material

Key word: material

1          Verb + material (thing)

Use the correct form of these verbs:

contain                        made from

modify                         recycle

treat                             use

  1. Not many people realise that the Romans were the first to __________ concrete as a building material.
  2. We can assure our customers that all our products are __________ natural materials.
  3. I think it would be wrong to allow scientists to __________ human genetic material in order to produce the ‘perfect’ human being.
  4. The outer material of the garment has been __________ with wax to make it waterproof.
  5. One aim of the Green movement is to encourage people to __________ more of their waste materials.
  6. A lot of older buildings __________ harmful materials such as asbestos.

2          Common adjective collocations

Complete the sentences with these adjectives:

hardest            inflammable

raw                    recyclable

waste                 radioactive

synthetic          hard-wearing

  1. My country has few natural resources and has to import most of its_________ materials.
  2. Highly__________ materials like petrol have to be handled with great care.
  3. Seat covers on trains and buses take a lot of wear and tear so they need to be made from strong, __________ materials.
  4. Our products are environmentally-friendly. We package all of them in __________ materials.
  5. Most __________ materials can be put in a washing machine. Unlike many natural fabrics they don’t shrink when washed.
  6. Diamonds are one of the__________ materials known to man.
  7. The transport of__________ materials is still one of the biggest problems for the power industry.
  8. __________ materials should be recycled whenever possible.

 3         Material (ideas / information)

Complete the sentences below with these words:

reading            indecent          classified        publicity

  1. All sorts of__________ materials are being used to promote the latest video -TV ads, videos, posters and leaflets.
  2. These documents relating to the last war won’t be available to the public for 50 years as they contain __________ material.
  3. I’ve listed some useful__________ material at the end of the handout.
  4. Employees caught downloading __________ material from the internet will be sacked immediately.

valuable          fresh    copyright         relevant

  1. I’m afraid this is__________ material. You’re not allowed to copy more than 10% of it and only for private use.
  2. The band can’t go on playing the same old songs year after year. It’s time they produced some __________ new material.
  3. Professor Smith travelled the world gathering __________ material for his book.
  4. When I was researching my family tree, I found a lot of __________ material in the public library.


1.         In 3-4‘obscene’ is also possible.

2.         Note the following:

He’s a good soldier but I don’t think he is officer material. (not good enough to be an officer)

3.         We talk about building, reading, teaching and writing materials:

There were bricks, cement and other building materials scattered all over the site.

There is always a shortage of teaching materials in this school.

You’ll find some paper and writing materials over there on the desk.

4.         Notice this expression using noun + of + material:

Samples of the material were sent for analysis.

5.         Remember that ‘material’ can be used as a general term to mean ‘things’. It also has a specific meaning when it means ‘cloth’:

Her coat was made of very expensive material.



Ex 1:

  1. use 2. made from 3. modify 4. treated 5. recycle 6. contain

Ex 2:

  1. raw 2. inflammable 3. hard-wearing     4.  recyclable
  2. synthetic 6. hardest 7. radioactive     8. Waste

Ex 3:

  1. publicity 2. classified 3. reading     4. indecent
  2. copyright 6. fresh 7. valuable     8. relevant

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