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

Key Word: explanation

1          Verb + explanation

Use the correct form of these verbs:

defy                 demand           give

hear                 owe                  think of

  1. I heard you coming in at five o’clock this morning. You said you would be home by midnight. I’m waiting to _________ your explanation.
  2. The instructor_________ us a very clear explanation of how the machine worked. It was very easy to follow.
  3. This is the second time you’ve failed to attend the meeting. I think you _________ us all an explanation.
  4. No wonder you’re angry! If Gwen was paid to produce the report by last Friday, I think you can _________ an explanation from her as to why nothing has appeared.
  5. Nobody can understand why the Prime Minister has given the job to one of his best friends. It’s a strange decision that _________ explanation.
  6. I can’t _________ an explanation for Pete’s bad behaviour. He’s usually so well-behaved.

2          Common adjective collocations

Complete the sentences with these adjectives:

no apparent                                convincing

a very detailed                         an immediate

the most likely                         logical

any other possible

  1. I’m sorry I’m late. The manager insisted on going into _________ explanation of every aspect of the job and I just couldn’t get away.
  2. _____________ explanation for Steve’s absence is that his plane has been delayed. => Yes, I can’t think of _________ explanation.
  1. When I caught my oldest son trying on my best dress, I demanded _________________ explanation! He said he was going to a fancy-dress party!
  2. There seems to be _________ explanation for the attack. It’s beginning to look like an act of mindless violence.
  3. That’s not a very _________ explanation. I’ll believe you, but thousands wouldn’t!
  4. Our dog has been acting strangely lately, but there’s probably some perfectly _________ explanation for its odd behaviour.

 3         Noun + of + explanation

Use these words to complete the sentences:

some sort of                by way of                     a word of

  1. His first wife just left without _________ explanation. One day she was there; the next she had gone!
  2. I told the policeman – _________ explanation –  that I hadn’t seen the speed limit sign. He just laughed and booked me!
  3. There must be _________ explanation for John’s sudden resignation. It’s just come out of the blue!

4          More common expressions

Match the two halves of these sentences:

  1. Can you just give us a quick explanation of
  2. There are lots of possible explanations
  3. The official explanation for the crash blames
  4. The only explanation I can think of is
  5. The generally accepted explanation of the disaster

a          that he’s lost his memory.

b          is human error.

c          how the system works?

d          the driver of the London-bound train.

e          why girls do better at school than boys.



1. Note the different verbs:

He didn’t offer any explanation for his late arrival.

The director went into a long explanation.

Nobody could come up with an explanation.

2. Note this expression:

He gave no explanation as to why he wasn’t there.

3. If an explanation is ‘far-fetched’ or ‘not very plausible’, it is difficult to believe.



Ex 1:

  1. hear       2. gave      3. owe            4. demand       5. defies          6.think of

Ex 2:

1 a very detailed                        2.The most likely, any other possible

3 an immediate                        4. no apparent

5 convincing                              6. logical

Ex 3:

  1. a word of             2. by way of            3. some sort of

Ex 4:

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

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