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

Key word: excuse

1           Verb + excuse

Use the correct form of these verbs:

have                               look for

make up                       provide with

run out of                    use as

  1. I think I’ve _________ excuses for not doing my homework, so I’d better get started!
  2. So, why was Ted late again this morning? > Who knows? As usual he_________ some excuse about his car breaking down, but nobody believes a word he says any more.
  1. Football teams always blame the referee when they lose a game, but everyone knows they only _________ him _________ an excuse for their poor playing.
  2. I’m sorry I _________ no excuse for being late. It was my own stupid fault. I slept in.
  3. Our son, Josh, is really lazy. He’s always_________ an excuse to avoid doing any work around the house.
  4. My father’s illness __________________ an excuse not to have to go to Mary’s leaving party. I was glad to see her go!

2          Common adjective collocations

Use these adjectives to complete the sentences:

convenient                    good

old                                     poor

  1. No, he didn’t come and help us after promising to. He gave some ____________ excuse about falling asleep in front of the TV and expected us to believe it.
  2. Dad will be absolutely furious! We’ll have to think up a pretty_________ excuse for staying out so late.
  3. He’s always making the same _________ excuse for not finishing his work on time. I’m becoming sick and tired of listening to them. Can’t we just fire him?
  4. Fortunately, I have a _________ excuse for missing the meeting. My son’s been taken ill at school and I’ve got to take him home.

We use a number of verbs for providing excuses. Find the four in the sentences above:

_________            _________

_________            _________

3          Poor excuses

We use a number of words to describe poor excuses. Underline them in the sentences below:

  1. You missed the bus! That’s a lame excuse – you should have left the house a bit earlier.
  2. I’m afraid I can’t come – I’ve got to go home and feed my dog. > Oh, come on, that’s a pathetic excuse!
  3. He said he couldn’t play because he had hurt his finger. What a feeble excuse!
  4. You won’t come out with me because you’re planning to wash your hair! That’s not much of an excuse!


1.         Note the following expressions:

There’s no excuse for that kind of behaviour. The guilty players should be thrown out of the team.

She only needs the slightest excuse to go shopping. Don’t encourage her!

I’m tired of listening to your excuses.

2.         Notice the structures that can follow excuse:

It’s just an excuse to do nothing.

It was just an excuse for doing nothing.

3.         Note this common question:

So what’s your excuse?

4.         Note this common structure:

There’s no excuse for what he did.

There’s no excuse for such rudeness.

There’s no excuse for arriving late.




Ex 1:

1 run out of                 2. made up                  3. use him as                4. have

5 looking for               6. provided me with

Ex 2:

  1. poor          2.good             3. old               4. convenient

verbs = give, think up, make, have

Ex 3:

  1. lame                2. pathetic            3.feeble           4. not much of


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