Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Collocations: fit

Type: Article

Have you ever had an inappropriate giggling fit? Tim Bowen is here to calm us down with his fitting explanation of a few more collocations.

A number of words collocate with the noun fit in its meaning of a strong sudden reaction that you cannot control, both in its singular and its plural form. If you are ill, you may suffer from a coughing fit or a sneezing fit, as in ‘She was prone to sudden coughing fits which left her almost breathless’. A young child may have a screaming fit and most people will have a giggling fit at some time or another, often in the most inappropriate places. Used in the plural, fit can be used with giggles, hysterics and laughter to describe uncontrolled bursts of mirth, as in ‘It was one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. The audience were in fits of laughter from start to finish’. Sometimes, in fits of laughter can be shortened to in fits, with the same meaning, as in ‘Some of his jokes had me in fits’.

One can also have fits of rage, anger, jealousy, petulance and temper, as in ‘Normally one of the calmest players on the circuit, he was prone to sudden fits of rage and was once banned for several weeks as a result’. If you throw a fit, you get very angry and shout or become violent, as in ‘My dad would throw a fit if he found out’. Medically speaking, a fit is a seizure or convulsion and collocates with the verb have - ’epileptics are prone to having fits.’

In the sense of whether something is the right size and shape, things can be a tight, close or snug fit, as in ‘They’re a bit of a tight fit. I think I’d better try a larger size’ or they can be a loose or comfortable fit, as in ‘A loose fit looks good on most people’. Ideally a fit will be exact, excellent, good or perfect, as in ‘These are a perfect fit. I’ll take them’.

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