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take care / take a look: verb + noun collocations with take
Maria from Ukraine writes:
  Maria asks: Please can you give me some information about collocations, especially about verb + noun collocations with take? Thanks a lot.
Roger Woodham replies:
Collocations are words that habitually or typically occur together. There are verb + adverb collocations like wave frantically (not wave hecticly). There are adjective + noun collocations like regular exercise (not steady exercise). There are adverb + adjective collocations like completely or wholly satisfied (not utterly satisfied). And there are verb + noun or verb + object collocations like follow someone's example (not pursue someone's example).
Take is one of the most commonly used verbs in the English language whose basic meaning is to move something or somebody from one place to another, e.g:
I took him to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing.
Take plenty of warm sweaters. It will be cold in Scotland.
There are a large number of take + noun collocations of which I include a selection of the most common below. Note how much of the original meaning of take is retained in these examples.
The first five are relatively easy to understand:
take a walk / a bus / a train
take a minute / a while / ten minutes
take exercise
take an interest in
take a photo
I'm not ready yet. Why don't you take a walk round the park?
It's essential for your health to take regular exercise.
I took 300 photographs when I was on holiday in Patagonia.
Since Sharapova won Wimbledon my son has taken an interest in tennis.
Aren't you finished yet? ~ No, it will take me a while, I'm afraid
The middle five are a bit more difficult so an explanation of the meaning is given after each example:
take steps / measures / action
take advice
take offence
take cover
take pity
If you take my advice, you'll stop seeing him.
We should take steps to ensure that no more money is lost on this venture.
There's no need to take offence. I was only joking!
They were firing over our heads, so we had to take cover.
She took pity on the stray dog and be became a family pet.
take steps, measures, etc: perform an action in order to achieve something
take advice: follow someone's guidance (on how best to achieve something)
take offence: feel upset because of something someone has said or done
take cover: hide of shelter from e.g bad weather or gunfire
take pity: show sympathy for someone because they are in a bad situation.
The final five are most difficult as they are idioms whose original meaning has been lost (but which is explained in the notes below):
take the mickey out of someone
take the axe to something
take a raincheck
take heart
take one's breath away
Stop taking the mickey. I'm fed up with being the butt of your jokes.
Can you manage Friday? ~ I'll have to take a raincheck on that, I'm afraid.
The way she played Lady Macbeth was so compelling it took my breath away.
Try to take heart from the fact that he's no longer in pain.
The company took the axe to senior management and abolished five posts.
take the mickey out of someone: to tease. Mickey represents Mickey Bliss, Cockney rhyming slang for piss. The expression then is a euphemism for take the piss.
take the axe to something: make drastic cuts, particularly in workforce
take a raincheck: politely decline an offer whilst implying that you may take it up later. A rainckeck was originally a voucher used in the US entitling one to see another baseball game if the original one was rained off.
take heart: take courage In former times, moral courage was supposed to come from the heart and physical courage from the stomach.
take one's breath away: be so surprised by something that it makes you hold your breath
Ones that we have not worked on include:
take a seat
take a bath / shower
take care
take a look
take milk / sugar in tea / coffee
take a break
take somebody's word for something
take your temperature
take a risk
take the credit
take responsibility
take the weight off ones feet
take a dim view of something
take ones hat off to someone
take a page out of someone's book
take a leak
take stock
that takes the biscuit!
Check them out in a good dictionary, if the meaning is not clear. Start with the most commonly used ones which I have listed first.
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