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Your English: Collocations: fighting

Type: Article

Sadly, there always seems to be an area of the world engaged in fierce fighting. Tim Bowen provides some topical collocations.

‘The streets of the city have been the scene of fierce fighting in recent months’. A number of other adjectives collocate with fighting to show that it is fierce, including bitter, heavy, intense and severe, as in ‘Heavy fighting is continuing in several towns in the area’.

Fighting that only happens occasionally or in some places can be described as intermittent or sporadic, as in ‘Hostilities have died down in recent weeks but there has been sporadic fighting near the airport’.

If individual soldiers are involved in fighting against each other, this can be described as hand-to-hand fighting, as in ‘Hand-to-hand fighting went on in every street’. Fighting that stops and then starts again is renewed, as in ‘Renewed fighting broke out at the very moment when peace seemed to be in sight’.

Apart from breaking out, fighting can also begin, start or erupt, as in ‘Fierce fighting erupted in several areas of the country when the results of the elections became known’. Once it has started, fighting can rage, meaning that it continues with a lot of force and violence, as in ‘Reports say that intense fighting is raging along the border’.

If fighting gets worse, it can intensify or escalate, as in ‘During March fighting escalated again when the army launched another offensive against the rebels’. The unfortunate civilian victims of any fighting will doubtless try to avoid, escape or flee it, as in ‘More than 200,000 refugees have fled the fighting and are now without food or shelter’.

In the end, fighting will hopefully die down so that peace can be restored.

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