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

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. 



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

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