Using Collocation to Boost Your IELTS Score – Key Word : Attempt

14 1

Key word : Attempt

1          Verb + attempt

Use the correct form of these verbs :

abandon               fail               foil            make

  1. Acting on information from the French, customs officials have ___________ an attempt to smuggle a large quantity of heroin into the country.
  2. Because of bad weather conditions, we were forced to___________ our attempt to reach the summit of Mt Everest.
  3. I wonder what’s wrong with Andy. Last night he ___________ a few half-hearted attempts to join in our conversation, and then he left early.
  4. All my attempts to start the car ___________ so we ended up getting a taxi.

Go back and underline all the other interesting collocations in this exercise.

2          Common adjective collocations

Complete the sentences below with the following :

half-hearted                repeated

brave                              unsuccessful

desperate                     deliberate

final                                 first

  1. I was pleased when I passed my driving test at the ___________ attempt.
  2. The driver of the train died at the scene of the accident despite___________ attempts by the paramedics to revive him.
  3. Despite falling and injuring his leg, Jim made a ___________ attempt to finish the marathon.
  4. I made a rather ___________ attempt to apologise for my behaviour, but it was obvious that I didn’t really mean it.
  5. I’ve made several ___________ attempts to speak to the manager, but he is always ‘out of his office at the moment’.
  6. For two weeks the army made ___________ attempts to break through enemy lines, all of which ended in failure.
  7. If the weather holds, the Chinese team are going to make a ___________ attempt to reach the summit tomorrow.
  8. The Foreign Secretary’s speech on the GulfWar was a ___________ attempt to embarrass the government.

3          In an attempt to + verb

Match the two halves of these sentences :

  1. Two factories were closed
  2. Talks are taking place at this very moment
  3. Politicians on both sides have called for a ceasefire
  4. Anne’s very upset. I’m afraid I failed
  5. He has succeeded

a  in a last-ditch attempt to avert a strike.

b  in my attempt to persuade her to come to the party.

c  in a desperate attempt to cut costs.

d  in his latest attempt to break the world land speed record.

e  in an attempt to prevent further bloodshed.

Go back and underline all the expressions with attempt in this exercise


1.         In 1-2 you can also say give up.

2.         In 2-4 you can also say a pathetic or feeble attempt.

3.         Note the following passive structure:

Several attempts have been made on the President’s life. (Somebody tried to kill him.)

4.         Note this example:

She made no attempt to conceal / disguise / hide her anger.

5.         Note these noun + noun collocations:

The rescue attempt was hampered by fog.

He received psychiatric help after his botched suicide attempt. 

 Answer Key

Ex 1 :

  1. foiled      2. abandon      3. made       4.failed

Ex 2 :

1 first 2. desperate 3. brave 4. half-hearted

5 unsuccessful 6. repeated 7. final 8. deliberate

Ex 3 :

l-c        2-a       3-e       4-b       5-d

Also check :

Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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