During the month of December, we have some holidays… and during holidays, many people give gifts to each other. So I thought it would be a good time to learn 25 collocations with “give” – these are the common combinations of words that we use together with “give.”
We’re going to start with some simpler ones and then learn some more that might not be so obvious, or might not mean what you think.
Studying collocations is wonderful for learning how to put words together in a natural way. You can learn collocations fast inside my e-book, 1000 collocations in 10 minutes a day. Each lesson is full of useful expressions, and it’s really quick to read the lesson and then take the quiz to practice.
OK, are you ready to learn lots of expressions with the word “give”?
give someone a call/ring
Our first one is to give someone a call or give someone a ring. These are informal ways to say “call someone on the telephone.” If I’m going to be visiting a city where my friend lives, she might say “Give me a call when you get here” – meaning “call me on the phone.”
give someone a ride/lift
Another very common one is to give someone a ride or give someone a lift. This is when you take the person in your car and drive them to their destination. We would give someone a ride to help them if they don’t have their own transportation. Or if we are both going to the same place, we could give the person a ride because it’s more convenient and economical to share one car instead of taking two cars.
give someone a hug/kiss
In English, we also say “give someone a hug” or “give someone a kiss.” The words hug and kiss are also verbs – so we could simply say “hug someone” or “kiss someone” – but another option is “give your sister a hug” or “give your teddy bear a kiss.”
give an answer/explanation/opinion/example
Give is used in several collocations involving speaking or communicating – we can give an answer, give an explanation, give an opinion, give an example, give advice, or give information.
Note that we don’t use “an” before advice or information, because those are uncountable nouns. We could say give some advice or give some information, but never “an advice” or “an information,” OK?
give a speech/talk/lecture/presentation
When it comes to public speaking, we also give a speech, give a talk, give a lecture, and give a presentation. The visiting professor gave a lecture to the class. The governor gave a speech on Independence Day.
When a pregnant woman gets the baby out of her body, this is called giving birth. My cousin gave birth to twins (two babies) last month. Or my friend is planning on giving birth at home instead of in a hospital. The process of a mother having a baby is called giving birth.
When we give permission, we say that an action is OK for someone to do. My brother gave me permission to use his expensive camera; he said it’s OK for me to do it.
When we give credit, that means we recognize and talk about something good that another person has done. If my co-worker put in a lot of hours on a project, I could acknowledge his hard work by saying “I have to give John credit for making this report so detailed and accurate.” Sometimes you’ll hear the phrase “give credit where credit is due,” meaning to recognize someone who deserves to be recognized.
give someone a hand
To give someone a hand is an informal way to say “help the person.” This is often with a physical task, like “I can’t carry all these heavy packages, can you give me a hand?” meaning can you help me?
To give notice means to alert someone to something, to call their attention to it – but give notice actually has an even more specific meaning, and that is to inform your company that you are planning to leave, you don’t want to work there anymore.
So for example, “Our receptionist gave notice last week; she’s planning on going back to school.” – this means she told the company she is quitting her job, she’s going to stop working.
give someone a heads up
A more common and informal way to talk about alerting someone in general is to give someone a heads up. This is often used for alerting someone to potential problems, dangers, or difficulties, but it can also be used more generally for any type of situation you want the person to be aware of.
For example, “Make sure to give everyone a heads up that the gym will be closed on Friday for maintenance.” – we want to prevent people from arriving and finding the gym closed, so we alert them, we give them a heads up.
give someone pause
If something gives you pause, it means it makes you hesitate and stop and think. So you don’t just keep going with your action, you pause to consider it more carefully. Maybe you want to buy a house in a particular city, but the rising crime rate there gives you pause – it makes you hesitate, you stop and think carefully if you really want to go ahead with your plans.
give someone a hard time
To give someone a hard time is used in two slightly different ways. Saying that an object is giving you a hard time means it is presenting some sort of difficulty. For example, I’m trying to sign up for the class but the website is giving me a hard time, I keep getting an error message.
What’s probably more common is saying a person is giving you a hard time, and this means the person is teasing, joking with, or annoying you, or treating you harshly. Let’s say your whole family is doctors, but you choose to study literature instead – your parents might give you a hard time for not going into a medical career. This might mean light-hearted teasing, or it might mean they criticize your decision in an unfriendly way.
not give a fig/damn/shit
When you hear someone say “I don’t give a fig / I don’t give a damn / I don’t give a shit” and other expressions like that, they are saying “I COMPLETELY don’t care.”
This is very informal and a little bit rude, so be careful what you say this about or who you say it to. A simple example for me would be I don’t give a fig about celebrities – I really don’t care, I have absolutely no interest, about what movie stars or famous singers are doing.
give my best to someone
Sometimes we want to send greetings or good wishes to someone else who is not present, through another person – we can use the expression “give my best to…” For example, if I have lunch with my friend, and her husband is not present, but I want to communicate my greetings to him, I would tell her “give my best to your husband.” We usually say this when closing a conversation or saying goodbye.
give rise to
To give rise to something means to cause it to happen, or to create the situation in which something is more likely to happen. The economic crisis gave rise to protests across the country. The crisis was what caused or led to the protests. The invention of the internet gave rise to the online course industry. Because we have the internet, that created the situation in which online courses can exist.
And speaking of online courses, we have a lot of great ones at Espresso English – you can click on the link in the video description to take free samples of our courses and see which one is best for you. Or you can also get all of them together at a 50% discount.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video full of expressions with “give,” and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year! I’ll be taking some time off to be with family, and I’ll be back with new English tips in the new year. In the meantime, you can check out my online courses to continue learning with me. Take care!