14 Closely Guarded Tips For Conquering Cloze Passages

By: Rosalind Ong
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Day 10: You Either Know Me Or You Don’t

Hi, I’m Teacher Rosalind from Fun Language Learning. This is the tenth article of the 14 Closely Guarded Cloze Tips  series brought to you by LearnSuperMart and Fun Language Learning.

As a bilingual specialist, I help Primary and Secondary school students achieve their desired grades in English and Chinese by guiding them to develop effective language learning strategies and skills.

1. Besides ‘Parts of Speech’, there is another category of Language Clues in which certain words appear together as a phrase and are used together. You’ll need to learn chunks of phrases to help you recall the most suitable word choice. 

From the title, can you guess what we are covering today?


2. Did you guess Collocations and Fixed Expressions?

Collocations are words that often go together. There can be a few variations depending on the strength of connection among the words.

Jennifer is someone who takes the bull by the horns. Even if it were a major issue, she would face it and not run away from it.

  • Takes the bull by the horns → Fixed Expression (idiom)
  • Major issue → Collocation (not vast issue)
  • Face the issue → Collocation (not meet the issue)
  • Run away → Fixed Expression (phrasal verb ‘run away’ = escape) 

3. How do you identify that a part of a collocation is required?

Clue: Check the part of speech that is missing and ask yourself what goes with the given word.


Type of Collocation


Noun + Noun

A sense of satisfaction

A feeling of satisfaction

Verb + Noun

Give a recommendation

Give a suggestion

Adjective + Noun

Important criteria

Main criteria

Verb + Adverb

Remember clearly

Remember vividly

Verb + Preposition

Beam with pride

Smile with pride

Adverb + Adjective

Completely lost

Totally lost


4. How do you identify that a part of a fixed expression is required?

Fixed Expressions are phrases in which the individual words cannot be changed. They are more rigid than collocations.

Clue: The phrase sounds meaningless/is different when broken down into parts.


Type of Collocation


Different from

Common expression

In the nick of time

Nick and time

Phrasal verb

Run down

Run and down


On cloud nine

Cloud and nine


5. Try this:

i) You had me completely ________. I should not have believed your words.

ii) He was having a difficult time solving the Math ___________ when he suddenly thought of a solution.

iii) My brother was willing to __________ the music when he made a mistake. I am very proud of him.





This wraps up the long section on Language Clues. Next, we will look at how to infer using Background Clues.


Visit fllacademy.com or like Fun Language Learning Facebook Page for more language learning resources.

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Posted on 04/10/2017

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