Enhance your understanding of collocations with a little help from Tim Bowen.

The verb to enhance, meaning to improve something, collocates with nouns in a number of different categories.

The first of these is a set of nouns that refers to reputation or appeal, notably attractiveness, credibility, prospects and reputation, as in ‘A well-written CV can enhance your prospects of being invited to a job interview’ and ‘An award can influence the sales of a book and enhance the reputation of an author’.

Enhance also collocates with a number of nouns in the general category of effectiveness such as efficiency, performance and quality, as in ‘There are a number of ways to boost the speed of your computer and enhance its performance’. Security can also be enhanced, as in ‘The introduction of the new scanners is intended to greatly enhance the security of airline passengers’.

In the category of ability or knowledge, enhance can be used with a number of nouns including ability, capacity, learning, skill and understanding, as in ‘The new climate model will enhance understanding of changes in weather patterns’ or ‘A diverse workforce enhances the ability of a business to innovate’.

In a formal sense, your enjoyment of an experience or an event can also be enhanced, for example ‘In response to the questionnaire, a number of people suggested that background music did not actually enhance their enjoyment of eating out’.

Finally, a number of personal qualities can also be enhanced, notably beauty, self-esteem, well-being and vitality, as in ‘Involving pupils in decision-making greatly enhances their self-esteem’ and ‘The manufacturers claim that regular use of these natural products will enhance your well-being and vitality’.


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