Expressions using Themes (e.g. Collocations, IELTS, Business English)

Collocations With The Word Hard

Collocations are words that usually go together in English.

Here we are going to look at words that go with 'hard' to make useful and popular expressions you will hear in social and professional contexts.


Hard (choices/decisions)

'Hard choices' or 'hard decisions' are ones that are difficult to make or deal with.

Examples

  • We interviewed so many good candidates for the job that picking just one will be a very hard decision.
  • Alex reached a point where he either had to focus on his career or on his young family. It was a hard choice, but in the end he felt that his children must come first.
  • If you want to be a good manager, you can't be afraid of making the hard decisions and hard choices that are required on a day-to-day basis. 


Look hard

If you 'look hard' for somebody or something, you search carefully, thoroughly, or determinedly for them. You can also study somebody or something intently by 'looking hard' at them.

Examples

  • You can't have looked very hard for the keys. I found them sitting on the kitchen table. 
  • If you look hard enough, you'll see that the painting is actually a forgery.
  • I've been looking hard for that all day! Where did you find it?


A hard look at

When you take 'a hard look,' you think about somebody or something very carefully, especially yourself, in order to make improvements or solve issues.

Examples

  • You really need to take a long, hard look at yourself, because your behaviour recently has been totally unacceptable.
  • We should be taking a harder look at the way we treat the most needy and vulnerable in our society.
  • I would encourage you to take a hard look at the potential impact of your plan before coming to any decision about it. 


Rock hard

Something described as being 'rock hard' is extremely firm or difficult.

Examples

  • There's no way that bread was baked fresh. It was rock hard!
  • Larry's new diet and gym routine are clearly working wonders for him. He's gone from being flabby to having rock-hard abs.
  • That puzzle is rock hard. I've been trying to figure it out for hours now!


Make hard 

If something is 'made hard' then it is made difficult to do, understand, or experience.

Examples

  • I'm not trying to make things hard for you by giving you criticism. I'm trying to help you learn.
  • The quality of the company's product, combined with its competitive pricing, made it very hard for their rivals to compete with them.
  • By not asking for help when you're stuck you are just making things harder on yourself unnecessarily.


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