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

Key Word: Relationship

1          Verb + relationship

Use the correct form of these verbs:

build up                       fall apart

have                            break off

improve                       work

  1. I saw Millie and Jake walking hand in hand. They must be ____________ some sort of relationship.
  2. Fortunately the relationship between the police and the local community has ____________ since last month’s riots.
  3. Let’s call it a day! I don’t think our relationship is going to ____________. We don’t agree on anything.
  4. Our business has grown and grown because we concentrated on____________ good relationships with all our clients – big and small.
  5. When Jane discovered that her new boyfriend was still in touch with his old girlfriend, she____________ the relationship immediately.
  6. Liz and Harry have split up. Their relationship____________ after Harry started travelling in his work.

2          Common adjective collocations

Complete the sentences with these words:

close                lasting

love-hate         physical

stable               working

  1. Many of the staff find our new MD difficult to work with and don’t get on with him. However, I seem to have established a good ____________ relationship with him right from the start.
  2. I have a very____________ relationship with my youngest brother. I had to look after him when he was a boy. We still spend a great deal of time together.
  3. I have a____________ relationship with my job! Sometimes I find my work very interesting while at other times I just want to be somewhere else.
  4. They’ve never fallen out with each other in twenty years of marriage. They obviously have a very ____________ relationship.
  5. They see a lot of each other but their relationship is strictly platonic. They have no kind of ____________ relationship as far as I know.
  6. Sadly, our affair was brief. It did not develop into a ____________ relationship.

3          Positive and negative relationships

Mark the expressions in bold P (positive relationship), or B (bad relationship):

  1. I enjoy a fairly harmonious relationship with my children. It’s always been friendly and peaceful.
  2. I have a rather uneasy relationship with my mother-in-law. I’m not comfortable with her and I find it quite a strain having her to stay with us.
  3. I feel sorry for Marie. She’s had a string of disastrous relationships since the breakup of her marriage.
  4. They appear to have a healthy relationship – they can talk about most things and they remain on good terms even when they disagree.
  5. They have a stormy relationship. One minute they are looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, the next they are shouting and arguing with each other.

4          Expressions with prepositions

Complete the sentences below with these nouns:

breakdown                  details              nature

questions                     strain

  1. She’s applied for a divorce. Money problems have put a severe __________ on their relationship.
  2. He deliberately misled us about the__________ of their relationship. He said they were just good friends, but they’ve been having an affair for years.
  3. The most common cause of depression today is the __________ of a close relationship.
  4. The local police chief dodged__________ on his relationship with the local drugs mafia.
  5. The Sunday papers were full of pictures of the bishop plus all the sordid_________ of his relationship with the actress.



In 1-3 ‘last’ is also possible.

In 1-4 ‘establish’ is also possible.

2.         Note the question:

What’s your relationship to Bill? => He’s my nephew.

3.         Note the following relationship:

Trust is a key factor in the doctor-patient relationship.

4.         ‘In a relationship’ means to have a lover:

No, I’m not married, but I’m in a relationship right now.



Ex 1: 1. having 2. improved 3. work 4. building up 5. broke off 6. fell apart

Ex 2: 1. working 2. close 3. love-hate 4. stable 5. physical 6. lasting

Ex 3: l-P          2-B      3-B      4-P       5-B

Ex 4: 1. strain              2. nature          3. breakdown              4. questions     5. details

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