Increase Your IELTS Vocabulary Score – Collocation of Limit

Key word: limit

1          Verb + limit

Choose the correct verb in the sentences:

  1. I think we should _________ a time limit on applications. Shall we say all applications must be received by Friday 13th? (set / seek)
  2. At present you have to be 18 in order to vote. A growing number of people want the limit _________ to 16. (decreased / lowered)
  3. The police are warning drivers to keep to the speed limit. There will be tough penalties for those drivers who_________ it. (top / exceed)
  4. I’ve had enough. I’ve _________ the limit of my patience with this child. See if you can get him to eat his food! (got / reached)
  5. Parents need to _________ limits on the amount of time their children spend on the internet. (take / impose)
  6. The race is over 50 kilometres of rough countryside, so I think it will certainly _________ the limits of my ability and endurance. (test/check)
  7. I’m nearly 70 and I_________ my limits. I don’t have the strength to go shopping every day now. (know / get)

2          Common noun expressions

Use the following expressions in the sentences:

age limit                                  speed limit

city limits                                 time limit

spending limits                        credit limit

  1. The city council maintain that they will need to cut back on some public services in order to meet the latest_________ set by the government.
  2. There are speed cameras all over the place, so make sure you keep to the _________ while you’re here.
  3. When you finish the report, just put it in my in- tray. There’s no _________ – but as long as I have it sometime next week, that’ll be fine.
  4. Recently, there have been calls to reduce the_________      for voting from 18 to 16.
  5. At the moment I’ve got a £3,000 _________ on my Visa card, but I’m thinking of increasing it so that I can buy a second-hand car.
  6. We live just outside the _____________________ .

3          Common adjective collocations

Match the two halves of these situations:

  1. The driver had been drinking all day and when the police stopped him,
  2. When some pictures come up for auction,
  3. The company is willing to fund the event,
  4. The level of fluoride in the drinking water was
  5. In order to control inflation the government has set
  6. Some species of fish are now in real danger of disappearing.
  7. I’d pay £5,000 for a Jaguar in that condition,
  8. The Russian boats are not allowed to fish

a          but costs must be kept within reasonable limits.

b          above the prescribed limit set by the authorities.

c          inside a five-mile limit.

d          stria limits on public spending this year.

e          but that would be my absolute limit.

f           he was well over the legal limit.

g          The North Sea has been fished beyond acceptable limits.

h          It’s obvious that some people are so rich they have no upper limit on what they are prepared to pay.



1.         In 1-2‘reduce’is also possible.

2.         Note the prepositions in these expressions:

You can bring in cigarettes up to a limit of 200 per person.

There’s a limit to the amount of pain any human being can bear.

3.         Note these expressions using verb + ‘to the limit’:

The medical services were stretched to the limit

It was a very long race and it pushed me to the limits of my ability.

The sudden influx of Irish football supporters is straining hotels in the town to the limit.

4.         The following expressions mean that there is no limit to what can be done:

The sky is the limit for what professional footballers can earn these days.

Zidane’s talent knows no limits. He’s simply the most brilliant player ever.

5.         Note this more formal expression:

Overseas companies must still operate within the limits of the law.



Ex 1:

  1. set 2. lowered 3. exceed 4. reached 5. impose 6. test 7. know

Ex 2:

  1. spending limits 2. speed limit 3. time limit
  2. age limit 5. credit limit 6. city limits

Ex 3:    l-f        2-h       3-a       4-b       5-d       6-g       7-e       8-c

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