Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Collocations: fuss

Type: Article

Think collocations are just a fuss about nothing? Tim Bowen explains the collocates of this word with the minimum of fuss.

Fuss is defined as ‘much unnecessary worry or excitement about something’. If there is a lot of fuss, it can be described as big, great or huge, as in ‘He kicked up a huge fuss when he was asked to produce his passport’. Conversely, if there is a relative absence of fuss, it is minimal, minimum, little or not much, as in ‘A reputable insurance company should pay a genuine claim promptly and with minimal fuss’.

The noun phrase the minimum of also collocates with fuss, as in ‘I have to say that the police were excellent. They dealt with the whole thing with the minimum of fuss’.

If something happens without (a) fuss, there is no unnecessary worry or excitement, as in ‘The kids went off to bed without a fuss for once’.

If you are commenting on an unnecessary fuss, the expression a fuss about nothing can be used, for example ‘If you ask me, the whole thing is a fuss about nothing. It’ll all be forgotten by the weekend’.

People can cause, create, make or kick up a fuss, as in ‘I don’t want to make a fuss, but the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned properly’. The phrase make a fuss of has a different meaning. If you make a fuss of or fuss over somthing (usually a child or an animal, but could be an adult on a special occassion), you give them a lot of attention, as in ‘Everyone was making a fuss of / fussing over her new baby’.

The adjective fussy often collocates with the noun eater to indicate someone who is very particular about what they eat, as in ‘Don’t worry about me – I’m not a fussy eater. I can eat anything.’

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