Using Collocation to Ace the IELTS – Key Word: Effort


 1         Verb + effort

Use the correct form of these verbs:

expend                                    go into

make                                      require

reward                                  save

  1. If you want to get good grades, you’d better start ___________ more of an effort. As it is, you’ll be lucky to scrape a pass.
  2. Learning a language as a child seems to involve no effort at all, but learning it as an adult ___________ a lot of time and effort.
  3. Following record sales over the Christmas period, the staff were___________ for their efforts with a New Year bonus of £300.
  4. I’d tackle the problem now if I were you. It’ll only take a couple of hours and it’ll ___________ you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
  5. A lot of effort has___________ making this event a success. I’d like to thank all of those who were involved.
  6. After ___________ all that effort on training to be a doctor, she decided that she wanted to do something else. What a terrible waste of time!

2          Adjective + effort

Use these adjectives to complete the sentences:

concerted                               extra

feeble                                       supreme


  1. -My father is making a huge effort to stop smoking.
    -Good for him! Tell him I’m also making a ___________ effort to kick the habit! I haven’t had a cigarette for a week!
  2. It’s not an easy book to read but it’s extremely interesting. It’s well worth putting in the ___________ effort to understand it.
  3. Jon can be so irritating. He made a ___________ effort to help me with the dishes. I think he dried one plate and then went round telling people he had done the dishes!
  4. Some people can lose weight virtually overnight, but for most people, dieting requires a ___________ effort of will.
  5. Now, for many of our guests this will be their first time abroad, so let’s all make a ___________ effort to make our Russian colleagues welcome.


3          Common expressions

Match the two halves of the sentences below:

  1. If we fail, it won’t be for
  2. This company has invested a great deal of
  3. He passed his exams with
  4. I know it’s a long climb to the top of the hill, but the view from the top is
  5. Everybody on our social committee has put in
  6. We’ve started a massive advertising campaign

a          time and effort in setting up training schemes.

b          well worth the effort.

c          in an effort to recruit more blood donors.

d          the minimum of effort. He’s obviously very bright.

e          want of effort.

f           a great deal of effort to make the weekend a success.

4          Noun + effort

Use these nouns to complete the sentences:

waste               prize    relief               war      fund-raising

  1. The___________ efforts of local people have resulted in over £10,000 being raised for cancer research in the past year.
  2. ___________ efforts in the Congo are being hampered by the on-going civil war.
  1. People started to wear yellow badges to show their support for the___________ effort.
  2. The only ___________ I won at school was one for effort. At least I tried! And that’s more important than coming first!
  3. A lot of grammar study is a___________ of time and effort. Collocation is much more useful.

1. Note the use of the quantifiers every and no in the following common expressions:

Every effort is being made to rectify the problem.

We will spare no effort to find out who did this.

2. ‘In an effort to’ means ‘in order to’:

We’ve reduced our workforce in an effort to cut costs.

3. If something is a ‘real effort’, it is very difficult:

Dad’s very weak now. It’s a real effort just to talk.



Ex 1: 1. making 2. requires 3. rewarded 4. save 5. gone into 6. expending

Ex 2: 1. determined 2. extra 3. feeble 4. supreme 5. concerted

Ex 3: l-e           2-a       3-d      4-b       5-f       6-c

Ex 4: 1. fund-raising 2. Relief 3. war 4. prize 5. waste

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