Family: collocation words

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Family: collocation words

Collocation words for family

Some adjectives go together with nouns.

an extended family         a nuclear family                                a close family                     a respectable family

a loving family                   a dysfunctional family    an unhappy family            a distant relative

distant cousins                  a second cousins              an estranged husband   ex-husband/wife

a bitter divorce                 an acrimonious divorce a trial separation              a blood relative


The following verbs go together with nouns.

to start a family                 to provide for his family                                get a divorce                      to set up a home

to expect a baby              to have a baby                                  to give custody of a child

to grant custody of children                                                        to apply for custody of a child


Some nouns go well with past participles

A broken family                                                a deprived home            a confirmed bachelor

Reading in context

Collocation words for relationships within a family

Family relationships Sociologists talk about nuclear and extended families. A nuclear family is just parents and children. An extended family is a wider network including grandparents, cousins, etc.  Close relatives are those like parents, children, brothers or sisters. Distant relatives are people like second cousins [the children of a cousin of your mother or father] or distant cousins. Close/immediate family refers to people who are your nearest blood relatives:

I don’t have much close/immediate family.

She’s a distant cousin of mine; she’s not a blood relative.

Close can also be used to mean that the relationship is a very strong one:

We are a very close family, or We are a very close-knit family.

These adjectives also collocate with family:

Loving                                   Respectable                       dysfunctional [unhappy, not working in a healthy way]

Example: Simon came from a respectable family, so Mary’s parents felt happy about the marriage.

Someone’s late husband/wife is one who has died.

An estranged [formal] husband/wife is one who lives in a different place and has a difficult relationship with their husband/wife.

They may be having a trial separation and may eventually decide to get a divorce.

In some cases it can be a bitter/acrimonious divorce, [full of anger, arguments and bad feeling]

A person’s ex-husband/ex-wife is a man/woman that she/he used to be married to.

Children whose parents h.ave separated or divorced are said to come from a broken home.

If their family is a strong, loving one it can be called a stable home.

If it is a poor one, not having the things that are necessary for a pleasant life, such as enough money, food or good living conditions, it can be called a deprived home.

A confirmed bachelor is a man who seems to have no intention of ever marrying.

Example Sentences:

  • Andy is hoping to start a family.
  • How many children would you like to have?
  • I would like to have two children.
  • Are you expecting a baby?
  • When did Teresa have a baby?
  • Jack works day and night to provide for(=to earn enough money to support his family) his family.
  • Emily has to bring up her two children on her own.
  • My father asked me to set up home on my own soon.
  • When did Jill’s father applied for custody of his brother?

Speaking Quiz:

  1. Where did your parents first set up home?
  2. Who do you have in your immediate family?
  3. Do you have much contact with your distant relatives?
  4. Are dysfunctional families respectable in your country?
  5. Is that typical to have at least one son in your country?
  6. Who does provide for your family?
  7. Who is responsible for bringing the children up in your country? Mother or father?
  8. At what age do people start their family?
  9. Do husbands/wives become estranged after marriage in your country?
  10. What is a broken family?

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