13. Collocations for key words.

13. Collocations for key words.

Bill and Julian argue about refugees.

Main Practice:  Collocations for key words.
Revision:          have to (obligation)  -  Second Conditional

drastic action  - extreme action, i.e.
  • The school took drastic action to stop students selling drugs.
  • Drastic action is needed to control the spread of the disease.

plan of action / action plan  -  steps to achieve a success in a stratetgy, i.e. 
  • We need a plan of action to get the team ready for the tournament.
  • The building needs an action plan in case of fire. 

take action  -  to act, do! i.e.
  • The world must take action to deal with ocean plastic. 
  • Take action to get fit and healthy!

to rise to a challenge
 -  to deal with a difficult task or situation, i.e.
  • She rose to the challenge of getting the weaker students through the exam.
  • It won't be easy getting the restaurant ready to open for Christmas but we'll rise to the challenge

a complex issue  -  a complicated situation / problem, i.e. 
  • Obesity is a complex issue.
  • Mental health problems among the young are a complex issue.

a pressing issue  -  something that needs to be dealt with immediately, or very soon, i.e.
  • The traffic problems in our town are a pressing issue.
  • Air pollution around the world is a pressing issue.

to resolve an issue  -  to solve the situation / problem, i.e.
The government must resolve the issue of high stakes gambling.

a matter of great urgency  -  an issue which needs to be solved quickly, i.e.
  • Climate change is a matter of great urgency.
  • It is a matter of great urgency in our society that we reduce climate change.

the fact of the matter is  -  the truth is, i.e.
  • The fact of the matter is you borrowed the money and must pay it back. 
  • The government has broken its promises, that is the fact of the matter.

a sense  of... (an awareness of / a feeling of)
  alarm  -  fear / worry, i.e.

  • You need a sense of alarm: you've done no study and the exams are in just three weeks.
  • There is now a real sense of alarm about those villages cut off by the snow.


  • It is vital for a diplomat to have a strong sense of balance.
  • Your arguments are too extreme; you've no sense of balance about this issue.

  • You're not ready to get married: you've got no sense of responsibility.
  • The Prime Minister claims the goverment has a collective sense of responsibility on the matter.
Bill and his brother, Julian, are watching a news item about refugees. Bill opposes Julian's *hard-line attitude to the issue. 
*an inflexible, uncompromsing attitude

Choose the words to make correct collocations.

(Hint: a sense of  is used three times.)

Julian:  It's time to stop all these refugees coming to Europe. We need to action and
                stop their boats landing.

Bill:      That would be a very action and cost lives. It's a issue and demands
                responsibility from the European Union, Julian.

Julian:  What responsibility? The is Europe can't be responsible for every
                poor nation on earth.

Bill:      That's true but the richer nations have to this challenge as a matter
                and find a solution. We need a action to deal with the

Julian: Yes, stop refugees getting to Europe.

Bill:      You know, Julian, research suggests that drought in Syria, made worse by
               climate change, contributed to the war there and, therefore, to refugees fleeing to
               Europe. And it's not poorer countries that create climate change but the emissions
               of the rich countries. 

Julian: Your point being?

Bill:      We need alarm about this. Some experts consider climate change to be the 
               most pressing issue in the world today. We need to drastically reduce our emissions
               and help developing nations prepare for climate change. 

Julian: Oh, so we have to change our life-style, do we, give up our cars, go back to the horse
               and cart?

Bill:     You need balance, Julian. If we don't the issue, or at least
              minimize its impact, there could be widespread catastrophe and a lot more refugees
              trying simply to survive. Just as you and I would do.


A, B and C are discussing youth crime.

Complete the sentences with the language you've practised and then practice the conversation with a friend.

drastic  -  plan of  - responsibility  -  complex  -  resolving  - of great urgency  -  
fact of the  -
  take  -  rise to  -  alarm  -  

A:  Crime among the young is a issue. It's not easy to fully understand. But the
      matter is that it must be *tackled; there's too much violence on the streets.

B:  The situation requires a action from the government which will convince social
      workers, schools, parents and communities that politicians are serious about
      the issue. The police need extra funding, but it's more than that.

C:  I agree, and it's no good just calling for the action of longer prison sentences.
      Youth crime is often *deeply-rooted in social problems. 

A:  Absolutely, but I don't see any real sense of from politicians. They are not doing
      enough to this challenge.

C:  They need more sense of

B:  You're right, it's a matter . The government must more action.

* to tackle a problem = solve a problem
*deep-rooted = something that has been strongly established for a long time