English Vocabulary Words and Expressions

Improve, learn, and study English vocabulary words and expressions. > Tips and instruction for vocabulary from Professional English Skills and Language Boston

Collocation and other lexical approach ideas and terms can be useful and practical tools to increase fluency. Pay attention, watch for details, look at the context and co-text, and keep an open mind.

The first vocabulary tip is for the words “aware” and “awareness”.

Become or Get – Which one? With “aware”, use “become”: become aware. – It’s possible to use “get” and “become” to indicate that a condition or state changes. Though they can be interchangeable, they’re not always interchangeable. Here’s an example of what I mean in context. This is part of a short email I received from someone that is improving pronunciation and accent with me. Minor grammar errors and vocabulary errors, or lexical errors, can contribute to the perception of “accent” in that such errors sound foreign.

Okay, it was very insightful talking to you today. I’m getting more aware of my speech and intonation. I’ll start off with everything tomorrow. Thank you. I look forward to working with you.

It’s more usual to say or write “become aware”. The verb “become” goes better with “aware” than “get”. I would not advise saying or writing “get aware” or “getting more aware”. Here are a few examples.

  1. I’m becoming more aware of my speech and intonation.
  2. I’m becoming increasingly aware of my speech and intonation.
  3. I’ve become much more aware of intonation and connecting syllables and words together.

Use “get” to say things like get cold, get hungry, get tired, get warm out, get good at something. These are simple and more concrete ideas. The idea that someone is now more aware of something than before is more of an abstract idea. In this way, the verb “become” goes better with “aware” than “get”, and it’s far more usual to say or write “become aware”.

When “become” and “get” are interchangeable, “get” is more informal and “become” sounds more formal, in a way. In conversation, “get” occurs more frequently.

be aware – I am now more aware of intonation and how practicing this helps people understand me better.

It’s, possible, to “gain an awareness”. I’m gaining an awareness of intonation and speech. It’s, also, possible to “gain some awareness”

Here are some verbs that often go with the words “aware” and “awareness”. Words that often occur together are called collocations.

  1. be aware of ___ be aware that ___ grow more aware of ___
  2. become aware of ___ become aware that ___ become more aware of___ become more aware that ___
  3. become increasingly aware of ___ become increasingly aware that ___
  4. develop awareness of ___ develop an awareness of ___ develop some awareness of ___
  5. gain awareness of ___ gain an awareness of ___ gain some awareness of ___

When “become” and “get” are interchangeable, “get” sounds more informal and “become” sounds more formal. In conversation, “get” occurs more frequently.


Here are some PDF documents for English language learners and English language teachers to use in classes and courses.

  1. Time Expressions Business English – Expressions that use the word time or that have something to do with time
  2. Highly – Collocations list for highly – Many people think quite highly of collocations.
  3. At For Targets – Idioms, expressions, and phrases that use the preposition “at”
  4. Mind Expressions – Idiomatic expressions that use the word mind
  5. Have and Give – Common collocations for the words have and give
  6. Prices in Business News – News collocations for the word prices
  7. Start and Begin – What’s the difference between start and begin? Maybe, this document can help you sort out that problem.
  8. Rain Expressions – When it rains, it pours. These are expressions that have to do with the rain.
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