Using Collocation to Boost your IELTS Score – Key Word : Promise

Key Word : Promise

1          Verb + promise

Use the correct form of these verbs :

break               have                make               keep

  1. I’ll try to get back in time for the party, but I’m not ____________ any promises.
  2. Do I____________ your promise that you won’t tell anyone else about this?
  3. As expected, the government failed to____________ its promise to improve health care.
  4. David, my ex-husband, keeps promising the kids he’ll take them out, and then he rings to say he can’t come round. I wish he’d stop ____________ his promises. The kids get so disappointed.

extract                         hold  to            give                  go back on

  1. Can you ____________ us a promise that the work will be completed on time?
  2. After months of complaining, and after dozens of letters and phone calls, we eventually____________ a promise from the travel agency that they would refund the full cost of our holiday.
  3. British car workers were furious that the parent company had ____________ its promise to build the new model in the UK.
  4. The opposition is determined to force the government to ____________ its election promises. They say they will not let it go back on any of the promises it made during the election campaign.

2          Promise (uncountable)

Promise also means a sign that a person or thing will be successful. Choose the more natural collocation in each sentence :

  1. Our younger son, Jack, took up the violin a couple of years ago. He’s ____________ a lot of promise and his school wants him to have extra tuition. (holding / showing)
  2. It’s a good example of a film which was____________ promise, but bombed at the box office. (full of / filled with)
  3. This actor had a brilliant early career, but he failed to ____________ his early promise. Now he’s lucky if he gets any work at all. (fulfil / fill)

 3         Common adjective collocations

Choose the more natural adjective in the following sentences :

  1. She made a____________ promise to him when they were married that she would give up smoking. (serious / solemn)
  2. If I were you, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Mike doesn’t turn up. He’s famous for making ____________ promises that he never keeps. (empty / blank))
  3. The politicians made ____________ promises about tax cuts but they refused to discuss them in any detail when asked for more information. (large / big)
  4. After a string of ____________ promises, it is becoming clear that the company cannot provide the level of service and reliability that we need. (broken / unkept)
  5. Before they went bankrupt, ECO Transport made all sorts of____________ promises, but fortunately nobody believed them. (wild / crazy)
  6. Think carefully before committing yourself. Try to avoid making any____________ promises that you may regret later. (rash / fantastic)

1.         Note the following expressions:

I’ll tidy up my room before I go out tonight > Is that a promise?

True to his promise, Paul returned my notes before the next class.

2.         We talk of election promises:

The government is facing criticism for failing to carry out its election promises.

Answer Key

Ex 1: 1. making   2. have   3. keep   4. breaking   5.give   6. extracted   7. gone back on   8. hold to

Ex 2: 1. showing         2.full of           3.fulfil

Ex 3: 1. solemn           2. empty          3. big               4. broken         5. wild             6. rash

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.

1 Comment

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Mike doesn’t turn up. He’s famous for making ____________ promises that he never keeps. (empty / blank))

    is it not promises that he never keep instead of keeps

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