English Collocations with Keep | SMART Vocabulary Learning
Learning English collocations is the smart way to build vocabulary! Let’s practice using words correctly in English sentences, so you sound more natural!
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In this lesson, I’ll go through 15 common expressions that use the verb KEEP!
So, what are English COLLOCATIONS?
Collocations are words that frequently occur together in natural English – words that often appear together in English sentences.
Learning collocations (rather than individual words) helps you to sound more fluent and natural when you use English!
Want to know the best way to learn MORE Common English Collocations? READ English books and texts! You’ll learn the patterns of how English words are often used together (which will help you to sound more natural and fluent when you use English yourself!)
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
Well hey there, I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Today we’re gonna bust out some awesome phrases using ‘keep’. Now I know what you’re thinking, this is a really common English verb but we’re going to focus on accuracy today, using these phrases correctly.
So we’ll practise some common collocations, words that are often used together with ‘keep’. And if you’re wondering why that’s a good idea, it’s a good idea to practise words together, well, because learning words together in chunks is going to help you to sound more natural when you speak. You’ll be using words exactly as native speakers do when they speak not as Google Translate tells you to, which often sounds really unnatural and strange.
So everybody keep calm, stay focused. You’re about to learn fifteen common collocations with ‘keep’.
1. Keep a secret
2. Keep a promise
Now the verb ‘keep’ has two main uses. Firstly, we use it to explain that and that’s why it’s often used with the noun ‘secret’ or ‘promise’. So you need to retain possession of that secret, right? And not share it with anyone else.
My friend just told me that she’s pregnant but she doesn’t want anyone else to know yet. I don’t know how I’ll keep it a secret!
Or we can say: I don’t know how I’ll keep her secret!
You said you’d arrive by Monday. I just hope that you can keep your promise. We need you here.
3. Keep something safe
We also keep something safe and this means to look after it, right? To look after something.
When I was back home in Melbourne over Christmas, my mum pulled out my primary school uniform. She’d been keeping it safe all these years. I had no idea.
Keep it somewhere safe so you know where to find it when you need it.
Do you have something that you’re keeping safe right now? See if you can use this expression and write a sentence about it in the comments below.
4. Keep in mind
What about ‘keep in mind’ which has quite a literal meaning, you know. You keep something in your mind, you remember it, right, until you need it.
So when you get some helpful advice from someone you can say: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.
Keep in mind that there are five vegetarians coming for dinner so we may need to prepare their meals separately.
Hopefully, you keep a few of these expressions in mind so that you can use them later.
5. Keep quiet
‘Keep’ can also mean to remain in a certain condition or position which is why we always say: Keep quiet. Remain quiet.
Ben kept quiet while she explained what had happened.
6. Keep away
And ‘Keep away!’. ‘Keep away’ means to stay or remain at that distance.
Keep away from the sand dunes, there are snakes in there!
7. Keep your distance
Now if you’re advising someone or you’re warning them, you can use ‘Keep your distance’
When the monkeys started fighting, the ranger told us to keep our distance.
8. Keep in touch
And of course, you can tell someone that you want to remain in contact with them by saying: Keep in touch. Now this is usually with someone who you don’t see very often and as you’re leaving you might say:
Well, it was great bumping into you. Let’s keep in touch.
I shared a few extra examples about that expression up here in this video, so you can check it out later.
9. Keep up with
‘Keep up’ or ‘keep up with’ is a really handy phrasal verb, especially if you’re falling behind and there’s a couple of meanings. You can use it when you’re falling behind in your understanding.
It’s really hard to keep up with native speakers when they speak at natural pace.
Or if you’re walking with someone who’s really slow, you might say: Come on, keep up!
They’re physically far behind so you can use ‘keep up’ in a physical sense as well.
Okay so there are a heap of expressions using ‘keep’ that we use to help get organised and stay informed.
We keep track of things.
We keep tabs on stuff.
We keep people posted.
And we keep up to date.
These are just a few. So let’s take a look at a few examples.
10. to keep track of things
‘To keep track of something’ has two different meanings actually, depending on whether that something is a physical object or it’s information. If it’s a physical object, then keeping track of it means that you know where it is.
I’m sorry, I am listening to you. I’m just trying to keep track of where my kids have gone.
Now if you’re not talking about a physical thing, like your kids, then ‘keeping track of it’ means that you’re staying informed. You’ve got up-to-date information and it’s really clear in your mind.
I use Google Calendar to keep track of all of my appointments and meetings.
Is there anything in your life that you find difficult to keep track of? Let me know about it in the comments.
Hey a super quick reminder to subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already. If you have subscribed, then let me know in the comments because I like to keep track of who my regular students are.
11. (to) keep tabs on someone/something
It’s similar to keeping track of them but it means to watch something or someone carefully, to monitor their activity, to keep an eye on things.
I try to keep tabs on my bank account so that I don’t spend too much.
If you’re anything like me you like to feel organised and you like to have everything under control. Is that what you’re like?
12. keep on top of things
Anyway, we can use ‘keep with on top of’ to say exactly that. I like to keep on top of things, most often it’s used in this really general way with things. But you can make it a little bit more specific by saying something like:
I like to keep on top of all my admin tasks at work. I do a little bit every day.
So as I said earlier we use ‘keep’ in expressions when we want to have all of the information about something.
13. keep up to date
For example, we like to keep up to date, don’t we? Some people read the news every morning to keep up to date with world affairs.
Do you like to keep up to date with world affairs? I do but I don’t read the news every day. Most of the time the stories feel like they’re quite negative, you know, all of the negative things from around the world and I start feeling really depressed.
But I have a friend who’s a journalist and she usually keeps me posted if there are any major stories breaking.
Now you can use this expression when you’re letting someone know that you’ll give them updated information as soon as you receive it. It sounds a little bit formal right but this expression can actually be used all of the time, you know, if you’re trying to organise dinner with friends and one of them may need to work late or they can’t get a babysitter and they’re unsure if they can come, you could say:
No worries, but keep me posted. I may need to change our booking.
14. keep (someone) posted
15. keep (someone) informed
A more formal way of saying this exact same thing is ‘Keep me informed’. So this expression is more appropriate in the workplace and it’s a little too formal to use with friends.
Talking about a product order for the clothing company that you work for, you might say to your boss:
I’ll make sure that you’re kept informed if there are any substantial changes to the shipment or the delivery dates.
So you’re letting your boss know that you can deal with the problem but you’ll definitely update them and share important information with them.
So did you keep up with me all the way through this video? I hope so! If not, never mind, the brilliant thing about all of my lessons here on YouTube is that you can go back and watch them again at any time.
In fact, you can even go back and slow down or increase the speed of the video which is super cool. Now that we’ve been through fifteen expressions, I’m setting you a little bit of homework. I want you to try and use five of these expressions together in a comment below this video. So let me see that you’re using them in ways that are meaningful to you. It’s the best way to try and remember these expressions, you know, and make them relevant to you. How can you use them to talk about your daily life?
Now if you get in early, I’ll be down there giving feedback and checking that you’re using all of those expressions correctly. If you’re ready right now to keep going, then head into this lesson right here and I’ll meet you in there. See you soon!
Links mentioned in the video
How to Say & Use English Abbreviations | ASAP * FOMO * BTW * FYI
My 8 Favourite English Adjectives | Improve Your Vocabulary | Describing People
An English video lesson that introduced the pronunciation and use of English adjectives that can describe people.
Uh oh… I’m in a pickle!