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

 Key Word: reaction

1          Verb collocations

Use the correct form of these verbs:

affect               give                  predict             get

be                    require            vary                 watch

  1. I always loved to __________ the reactions of my children when they opened their Christmas presents.
  2. Driving after drinking even a small amount of alcohol is difficult as it __________ your reactions.
  3. It is often difficult to _____________ people’s reactions to a new idea in advance.
  4. What sort of reaction did you__________ when you told them you were the new inspector?
  5. The President ________________ his reaction to the crisis in a carefully-worded press statement.
  6. Table tennis is a sport that ________________ very fast reactions.
  7. I understand there’s________________ no reaction to my letter.
  8. People’s reaction to the film________________ a lot. Some loved it, while others simply hated it.

2          Common adjective collocations

Use these adjectives in the sentences:

angry               delayed                        favourable       immediate

violent             instinctive                    mixed             natural

  1. The proposal has received a generally ______________ reaction. Most people seem to accept the need for change.
  2. There has been a very________________ reaction to the plans to cut benefits to single mothers.
  3. When I heard the news of my friend’s death, my_____________ reaction was one of utter shock.
  4. There has been a_____________ reaction to the new timetable. Some people like it, but others don’t.
  5. Don’t worry. Everyone feels lonely when they first leave home. It’s a perfectly_____________ reaction.
  6. I fainted twenty minutes after leaving the doctor’s surgery. I suffered a _____________ reaction to the injection the doctor had given me.
  7. When things go wrong the_____________ reaction of most people is to look for somebody to blame.
  8. As soon as he took the medicine, he had a _____________ reaction to it, and died within hours. It was tragic.

3          Types of reaction

Match up the meanings with these different types of reaction:

  1. an allergic reaction
  2. a chain reaction
  3. a gut reaction
  4. a knee-jerk reaction
  5. a subconscious reaction

a          one event which sets off lots of linked reactions

b          a reaction in yourself which you are not aware of

c          an instinctive reaction

d          a negative medical reaction eg a rash

e          an immediate and automatic reaction

Now use the collocations in 1-5 in these sentences:

  1. Whenever there is a report of some particularly brutal attack on children or old people, there is the usual _____________reaction, demanding the return of the death penalty.
  2. I don’t know what your reaction to all this malicious gossip is, but my_____________ reaction is to ignore it completely and hope it will go away.
  3. Drinking milk can cause an _____________ reaction such as a running nose or coughing in children, while eating peanuts can trigger a very violent and even fatal reaction.
  4. There is a danger that this local dispute could set off a_____________ reaction that would endanger the whole of the world.
  5. I am sure that all these headaches I’ve been having are just a_____________ reaction to all the stress I’ve been under recently.


1.         In 2-3 ‘first’ and ‘initial’ are also possible.

2.         Note the following:

You can imagine my reaction when I met my mother for the first time in 30 years.

A relief fund was set up in reaction to the disaster in order to help the victims and their families.

3.         A ‘chemical reaction’ is a natural process that takes place between chemicals:

The energy is generated by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.



Ex 1: 1. watch 2. affects 3. predict 4.get 5.gave 6.    requires 7. been 8. varied

Ex 2:

1 favourable    2. angry           3. immediate / instinctive

4 mixed           5. natural         6. delayed       7. instinctive                8. violent

Ex 3:

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

6  knee-jerk 7. gut 8. allergic 9. chain 10. subconscious

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