Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Collocations: thorough

Type: Article

Tim Bowen gives some popular collocations a thorough exploration.

The adjective thorough, meaning ‘including everything that is possible or necessary’, forms collocations with a number of nouns in several basic categories.

It can be used with various words that indicate a check of some kind, such as assessment, check-up, evaluation, inspection and the word check itself, e.g. ‘All contestants are required to undergo a thorough medical check-up before entering the race’.

Research and analysis can also be thorough and other words in this category include appraisal, exploration, investigation, review and study, e.g. ‘The company is undertaking a thorough review of all its working practices’.

Words that indicate some kind of change also collocate with thorough. Examples of these are reform, revision and overhaul, e.g. ‘The report recommends a thorough overhaul of the current system’.

Preparations for an event often need to be thorough, as in ‘England’s preparations for the forthcoming series against Australia have been particularly thorough’, and, remaining in a sporting context, a thorough warm-up is normally necessary before strenuous physical activity.

In the sense of ‘detailed’, thorough is also used with words that indicate a description of the main features of something. Examples of these are overview, survey and description, as in ‘The victim was able to give police a thorough description of the suspect’.

Finally, thorough also collocates with a number of words that refer to knowledge, such as grasp, grounding, understanding and the word knowledge itself, e.g. ‘This course aims to give students a thorough grounding in the basic principles of astrophysics’.

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