Improve your Vocabulary: 10 common word combinations in English

Published on 03 Sep 2019 / In Languages / English Language

Some words just sound better together. In this practical English vocabulary lesson, you will learn 10 common noun + noun combinations that are frequently used by English speakers. These include: pros and cons, odds and ends, peace and quiet, ups and downs, and more! Improve your understanding of these phrases and you'll be able to understand and participate in more English conversations.

Watch my video about COLLECTIVE NOUNS next:



Okay. Yeah, I could go anywhere I want. Okay, but it's really big and I don't have the space. Oh, hey, guys. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on "Common Word Pairs", specifically common noun and noun pairs. So, before, you know, I started this, I was looking at my phone because I'm trying to think about the pros and cons of buying a hot air balloon, and I'm not really sure whether I want it or not, so I'm trying to weigh the pluses and the minuses, the pros and the cons.

Speaking of pros and cons, pluses and minuses, this is the first word pair in our noun and noun set. So: "pros and cons", "pluses and minuses" basically mean the advantages and disadvantages of something. "What are the pros and cons?" When you're buying something, you're thinking about the pluses and the minuses of this thing; the pros and the cons of this thing. When you make an important life decision, you also have to weigh the pros (the pluses) and the cons (the minuses). Okay? So, these are the benefits or the disadvantages of something.

Next: "odds and ends". So, "odds and ends": "That box is full of odds and ends." Let me show you. Come here. Come here. Okay, so I got an eraser, I got a stapler, there's a remote of some kind, I think these are bubbles, Superman bubbles, marker, cloth. So, these things are not really related, but I don't have a box in my house or a drawer in my house just for erasers, or just for markers, or just for staplers, so the odds and ends of something usually just refer to the random pieces, the random articles, the junk, the miscellaneous junk. So: "That box is full of odds and ends." So I'm just going to put: Random stuff or random junk. Basically things you don't have a set place for in your house, so you just put it in one area. Yeah, the batteries, the paperclips, the tape, the pencils, odds and ends, just random stuff.

All right: "ups and downs". "They've had a lot of ups"... Ups and downs. I think you can tell what this means. It basically means they've had a lot of good times and a lot of bad times. So, good times and bad times. Good times and bad times. Now, this can refer to... You can use it in many contexts, specifically the most common being when you talk about relationships. Also, you can talk about a company's history, so the company has experienced many ups and downs. The relationship has gone through ups and downs. So, good times and bad times.

Next: "peace and quiet". So these commonly go together. "We could all use a little more peace and quiet." So, if you know the meaning of "peace", you know the meaning of "quiet", you just know this means a period of calm. Okay? So, I love peace and quiet. I need peace and quiet. I want peace and quiet. So, basically let's just say calmness, something... Period of calm. A period of calm.

"Trial and error". So, here: "We went through a long trial and error process." So, if you are working in a company and your company gives you a project, and they want you to find out the pros and cons of doing something, and they go through a long experimentation process with whatever they're working on. So, some things work, some things don't work. Or if you're trying to create, let's say a specific type of machine or a robot, but you don't know what happens if you do one thing or if you do another thing. So, "trial" means to try or experiment, and "error", to make mistakes. So this is a long process where you do experiments, and you make many mistakes before you find the final solution, you find what works. So: "trial and error" always refers to some kind of process where you're experimenting with solutions. Experimentation process. Okay. So, just like when you're learning English, you know, sometimes you just have to try speaking if you're speaking with a native speaker and you're not sure if you're using the correct verb form or if you're using the correct noun form, you're kind of going through a trial and error process, and maybe your friend says: -"No, no. Don't say: 'It is danger.' Say: 'It is dangerous.'" -"Ah, now I know it is 'dangerous', not 'It is danger.'" Okay? So, one, two, three, four, five. I think I said we're doing ten of these. Wow. […]

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