Tim Bowen offers up an admirably frank discussion in this week’s set of collocations.

‘After a frank exchange of views, the talks finally broke up in the early hours of the morning’. With the meaning of ‘honest and clear’, frank can also be used with various other words for discussion, notably conversation, debate and interview, as in ‘Both sides agree that there must be a free and frank discussion of the issue’.

Admissions and statements can also be frank, as can descriptions, as in ‘The book is a frank description of the author’s journey through the hell of heroin addiction’. People can also give a frank assessment of a situation or their frank opinion on a particular topic and do so in a frank manner.

Various adverbs collocate with frank. These fall into three main categories. There are various ways of saying very frank, notably absolutely, brutally, perfectly and quite, as in ‘To be brutally frank about it, he simply isn’t up to the pressures of a job like this one’ or ‘To be perfectly frank, this report stinks’. One can also be surprisingly frank.

Other adverbs that collocate with frank with this meaning include astonishingly, remarkably and unusually, as in ‘In an unusually frank interview, she revealed why she left her husband’. If a person is frank in a positive way, they can be admirably, disarmingly or refreshingly frank, as in ‘Her disarmingly frank account of her illness is both harrowing and brave’ or ‘For someone who isn’t known for his openness, his opinions on this occasion were refreshingly frank.’