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


1          Positive and negative effects

Which of the adjectives in bold are positive and which are negative?

  1. There is abundant evidence that smoking has a harmful effect on /our health.
  2. Many chemicals have a damaging effect on the environment.
  3. People today are aware of the beneficial effects of exercise. That’s why so many join leisure clubs.
  4. Watching too much television is having an adverse effect on John’s progress at school.
  5. The girl was kept locked up in a darkened room, but she seems to have suffered no ill effects.
  6. The Victorians swore by the therapeutic effects of sea-bathing.
  7. The bad behaviour of our neighbour’s children is having a detrimental effect on our own children.

2          Adjective expressions

Use the following adjectives in these sentences:

calming                       combined        deadening                   noticeable

overall                         opposite           desired                         profound

  1. His mother put her arm around her to help her relax, but it had exactly the __________ effect. She just froze! I don’t think they’ll ever get on.
  2. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my father’s death had a __________ effect on me. It’s taken me a long time to get over it.
  3. The music they play in planes is designed to have a __________effect on the passengers.
  4. Alcohol has a __________ effect on the senses. That’s why it’s dangerous to drink and drive.
  5. The doctor gave me some drugs to relieve the pain, but they had no __________ effect. Two hours later I felt exactly the same.
  6. There have been a number of criticisms of the government in the press in recent weeks. However, the __________  effect of these has not damaged the Prime Minister’s popularity.
  7. Most of the victims of the fire died from the __________ effects of smoke and heat.
  8. Unfortunately, my apology to Jackie has not had the __________ effect. She still ignores me! Some people just don’t know how to forgive!

Go back and underline the adjective collocations.

3          Useful expressions

 Match the two halves to make complete sentences:

  1. The outbreak of war in the Middle East had a dramatic effect
  2. These tablets will help with the pain, but unfortunately they don’t have a long-lasting effect
  3. The recent advertising campaign has had a marked effect on sales. In fact,
  4. In tonight’s programme we’ll be looking at the long-term effects
  5. I’m afraid that the new drug has had no significant effect

a          of unemployment.

b          we’ll have to take on new staff to keep up with the increased demand.

c          on stopping the spread of the disease.

d          – you’ll need to take two every couple of hours.

e          on petrol prices. They almost doubled overnight.

Go back and underline the complete expressions. The first is underlined for you.



1.         In 2-3 you can also say ‘soothing effect’.

2.         Two common verbs are ‘take’ and ‘come into’:

The new regulations take effect at midnight tonight.

We don’t expect the new law on inheritance to come into effect till late in the autumn.

3.         If something has a ‘knock-on effect’, it causes something else to happen:

Today’s strike will have a knock-on effect on all flights for the next few days.

4.         Drugs can have unpleasant ‘side-effects’:

The possible side effects of the drug include headaches and nausea.

5.         ‘After-effects’ can come some time after you have taken medicine.

6.         Global warming and ‘the greenhouse effect’ are two major issues of today.

7.         ‘Special effects’ are the techniques used by film-makers to make their films look spectacular:

The special effects in the three Lord of the Rings films were amazing!

I’d go to see it just for the special effects!



Ex 1:

positive = 3,5,6

negative = 1,2,4,7

Ex 2:

1 opposite        2. profound     3. calming        4. deadening

5 noticeable     6. overall         7. combined    8. desired

Ex 3:

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

Also check : IELTS Vocabulary

Written By

Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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