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

Key word: attitude

1          Verb + attitude

Use the correct form of these verbs:

change            harden                        shape               understand

show                take                             typify

  1. I’m afraid our nephew has turned out to be a greedy, self-centred young man. His attitude ____________ a complete disregard for his family and others.
  2. I’ve always____________ a fairly easy-going attitude towards bringing up my children. Children need freedom to develop and make their own mistakes.
  3. John’s total lack of interest in the general election ____________ the attitude of many young people today.
  4. What do you think influences our attitudes to marriage? > I think our experiences in childhood____________ our attitudes to marriage and family life.
  5. This book examines how attitudes to sex in Britain have ____________ since the end of the Second World War.
  6. Attitudes towards the US have ____________ as a result of the recent accidental bombing of civilians.
  7. I don’t ____________ your attitude. Why don’t you like Ken? Everyone else thinks he’s a great guy.

2          Common adjective collocations

Use these adjectives in the sentences:

aggressive           insular                        negative

patronising         relaxed                        right

  1. A meal with Greg can be really depressing. He’s got such a ____________ attitude to everything.
  2. The teachers in this school seem to have a very ____________ attitude to discipline. I thought they’d be much stricter.
  3. You can make a career in sales and marketing, but only if you have the ____________ attitude.
  4. Why do football fans cause so much trouble? They’ve got such an ____________ attitude to everything.
  5. Many US newspapers contain very little international news. This is just one sign of the ____________ attitudes of Americans.
  6. He obviously thinks he’s so much better than me, but his ____________ attitude is beginning to irritate me immensely.

Go back and underline the adjective collocations.

3          Hyphenated adjectives

Use these two- and three-part adjectives:

slap-dash                              happy-go-lucky                    laid-back

holier-than-thou              devil-may-care

  1. My boss is so relaxed, but so efficient. I’ve never seen her get worried by anything. She’s got such a __________ attitude towards work.
  2. He’s the most exciting tennis player of the decade. His __________ attitude means he takes the kind of risks nobody else would.
  3. Our son’s a bit too __________ in his attitude to schoolwork. He usually does it while he watches television. It’s no surprise that his examination results are so poor.
  4. My mother-in-law is always disapproving and saying that she would never do this or that. She thinks she’s so morally superior. I can’t stand people with such __________ attitudes.
  5. My brother just accepts whatever happens to him and says he never thinks about the future. He’s got such a __________ attitude to everything.

1.         Note that attitude is followed by to or towards:

I find his attitude towards women hard to take.

I find his whole attitude to his work unacceptable.

2.         Note these noun phrases with ‘attitude’:

There’s been a noticeable change in attitude towards head office in recent months.

Some people believe that how old you feel is just an attitude of mind.

3.         A complacent attitude is when you stop trying to improve or change things:

Lack of competition led to a complacent attitude in both management and the workforce.

4.         Entrenched attitudes are ones that people have had for a long time and are unlikely to change:

It will be difficult to change the deeply entrenched attitudes of some of the older union members.

5.         Gung-ho attitudes are usually over-enthusiastic and politically inappropriate:

The Prime Minister’s gung-ho attitude was not appropriate for such delicate negotiations.


Ex 1:

  1. shows 2. taken 3. typifies 4. shape 5. changed 6. hardened 7. understand

Ex 2:

  1. negative 2. relaxed 3. right 4. aggressive 5. insular 6. patronising

Ex 3:

1 laid-back                      2. devil-may-care        3. slap-dash

4 holier-than-thou       5. happy-go-lucky


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