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

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Key word : Improvement

1          Verb + improvement

Use the correct form of these verbs :

be                    bring about

make               notice

show                suggest

  1. It’s about 30 years since I was in the British Museum. I’ve _____________a lot of improvements. It’s a much more exciting place now.
  2. Isn’t it great that John’s teachers said that his work has _____________ steady improvement throughout the year!
  3. I know a lot of improvements have been _____________ to our computer system since it was first installed. If anyone can think of any more, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
  4. Major spending is required to _____________ much- needed improvements in the health service.
  5. Could you read over my essay and _____________ any improvements before I hand it in?
  6. There has _____________ a gradual improvement in living standards over the past decade.

2          Common adjective expressions

Match the two halves to make sentences :

  1. If we want people to use their cars less,
  2. Despite the new sewage treatment plant,
  3. The last six months
  4. A few months after I stopped smoking
  5. If you follow this exercise programme for a month,
  6. Teachers’ salaries are going up by 20%
  7. Since Marco started going to evening classes
  8. I’m glad you’ve re-written this essay –
  9. Thanks to the doctors and nurses in the intensive- care department

a          I saw a huge improvement in my health.

b          so we can only afford minor improvements to school buildings.

c          it’s a vast improvement on your first attempt.

d          there has been a marked improvement in his English.

e          we need substantial improvements in public transport.

f           you’ll see an enormous improvement in your stamina.

g          have seen a slight improvement in the economy.

h          there’s been a remarkable improvement in bill’s condition.

i           there has only been a marginal improvement in the quality of water on our beaches.

 3         Large and small improvements

Use the nine adjectives in exercise 2 and the following to make a list of adjectives meaning ‘large’ and ‘small’, which can be used with improvement :

considerable                massive           modest             minor

significant                     sharp               radical             real

  1. Small : ________________________________________________
  2. Large : ________________________________________________

4          Expressions with prepositions

Use these nouns to complete the sentences :

areas                 cost                  number

prospect           signs                room

  1. My teacher said my work was satisfactory, but there was still ___________ for improvement.
  2. The consultant’s report highlights several ___________ for improvement within the company.
  3. The economy is continuing to show ___________ of improvement.
  4. Sadly, the doctors say there is little ___________ of any improvement in my aunt’s condition.
  5. Due to unforeseen circumstances the ___________ of the improvements has risen by fifty per cent.
  6. The new car incorporates a ___________ of major improvements making it one of the safest to drive.

Look back at all the exercises in this unit and underline all the collocations.


1.         Notice how we can use ‘improvement on’ to compare two performances:

Her time today in the 200 metres was a big improvement on her performance in the Olympics. The band’s performance tonight was a huge improvement on last night’s disaster.

2.         Notice this common expression:

It will be some time before we see any improvement in Sheila’s condition. 

Answer Key

Ex 1 :

1 noticed         2. shown          3. made           4. bring about

5 suggest         6. been

Ex 2 :

l-e        2-i        3-g       4-a       5-f       6-b       7-d       8-c       9-h

Ex 3 :

small improvement = marginal, minor, modest, slight

large improvement = considerable, enormous, huge, marked, massive, radical, real, remarkable, significant, sharp, substantial, vast

Ex 4 :

  1. room       2. areas        3. signs            4. prospect       5. cost             6. number

Also check :

Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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