Sublist 4, Group 11 (47)

Retain,’ first came into the English language about 600 years ago. It meant to ‘hold back’ or ‘to keep.’ Five hundred years ago the meaning had changed a little to include the idea of ‘to keep something in your mind.’ Today the meaning is pretty much the same.


  • The retention rate  of students at universities is falling.
  • When a couple divorces, it is often unclear who should retain what property.
  • A lot of salesmen are paid a small retainer and they earn most of their money from their sales.
  • I don’t have a retentive memory; I quickly forget most of what I hear and see.

Collocations: When you learn new vocab, make sure that you note collocations too. For this group of words some collocations are:
dispute resolution, resolution of
retention of, retention rate, retain for, retaining wall
series of, series about, serial murders
statistics about, statistics for, statistics suggest, statistics show, statistical data, statistically significant
status of, status since

Check the meanings of the words if you don’t already know them. Check the meanings of the various forms as sometimes they are different. You can check them at Time4english by clicking the words (

Academic Word List 47

Vocabulary for IELTS – Academic Word List 47

Complete the sentences below with the correct word and the correct form of the word.

  1. Conflict ______________ is an important element of marriage counselling. (resolve, series)
  2. _______________are sometimes misleading. (statistic, resolve)
  3. There has been a _______________ of management changes in the company in the last 12 months. (series, retain)
  4. I have a mind like a sieve today, I can’t _______________ any of the information I’ve been given. (retain, status)
  5. Medical doctors still enjoy high _______________ in most countries. (statistic, status)

Answers (in the wrong order)
5. status    3. series     4. retain    1. resolution    2. Statistics