Advanced Collocations To Describe Sounds

Learn advanced collocations to describe sounds in English. 

13 upper-intermediate and advanced (B2/C1) natural English expressions that will help to take your English to another level.

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List of Collocations

13 advanced collocations to describe sounds

As always, I’ve got a list of them ready for you.

In fact, I’ve got 13 collocations for sounds and voices.

Some say lucky, some say unlucky. 13. I’ll go through them, and then we go back to them one by one and give you an example so that you can practise it.

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a small voice

Meaning: quietly and with some fear and nervousness

A small voice can be somebody who’s battling against lots and lots of people who are talking about one thing. They’re all supporting each other, and you’re the lone small voice that says,

Excuse me, I don’t agree.

I can’t hear you. Your voice is too small. Please speak up.

I’m sorry, I’m having trouble hearing you.

a trembling/shaking voice

Meaning: we use or hear when somebody is really nervous


Sarah stood up and introduced herself in a shaking voice.

a squeaky voice

Meaning: a high-pitched voice that is not very loud, like a cartoon character


Often, when you hear a squeaky voice in a restaurant or in a cafe, you look around to see where it’s coming from, expecting to see a little mouse on the floor. 

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a husky voice

Meaning: a deep voice with lots of strength


If you have a very bad cough or cold, your voice can sound a little bit husky because of the illness.

a gruff voice

Meaning: a little bit angry or annoyed


Parents often answer in a gruff voice when the kids have been asking for something repeatedly.

He remained silent for several minutes, and then he spoke in a gruff voice.

muffled voices

Meaning: you can’t clearly distinguish what they are saying


People are always coming in and out of the main entrance, and I often hear muffled voices.

13 advanced collocations to describe sounds

Advanced collocations to describe sounds in English. Learn English vocabulary. Learn English speaking. Learn English vocabulary. Online Englsih lessons on Zoom and Skype

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to utter a word

Meaning: say something (often used in the negative)


Don’t utter a word. I want you to sit there silently, open your books and get on with your work in class.

Don’t utter a word of this to your sister. Don’t tell her what we’ve agreed, it’s a surprise for her birthday.

to slur your words

Meaning: to speak in an unclear way especially because you are drunk or tired


Joe had a few whiskies to calm his nerves. When he tried to make his best man speech, he slurred the words, and nobody could understand him.

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13 advanced collocations to describe sounds

a broad accent

Meaning: strong and very noticeable accent (way of pronouncing the words), showing where the person is coming from


Even after living in the UK for 50 years, she still spoke with a broad Australian accent.

a trace of an accent

Meaning: indistinct, barely noticeable accent


It really was a nice recording. There was a trace of an accent, but it’s very hard to understand exactly where it was from.

a stony silence

Meaning: nobody speaks, nobody makes any noise


When he looked around the room, there was a stony silence. Nobody commented. Nobody asked any questions. They all looked at the floor.

13 advanced collocations to describe sounds

Advanced collocations to describe sounds in English. Learn English vocabulary. Learn English speaking. Learn English vocabulary. Online Englsih lessons on Zoom and Skype

an eerie silence

Meaning: mysterious and frightening


There was an eerie silence. No bird sounds, no people, and I was a little bit uncomfortable.

Let me give these 13 advanced collocations to describe sounds to you one more time.

  • a small voice
  • a trembling/shaking voice
  • a squeaky voice
  • a husky voice
  • gruff voice
  • muffed voices
  • utter a word
  • slur your words
  • broad accent
  • trace of an accent
  • peals/hoots/gales of laughter
  • stony silence
  • an eerie silence

Okay, so as I said, they’re all collocations connected with sounds.

So try them, see how you can use them, and make sure you can understand them.

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More information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

10 Ways to say IMPORTANT

How to use Stative Verbs in English

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC and British Council Learn English.

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