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.



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

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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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