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KEEP: 27 Collocations and Idioms

Collocation and idioms with KEEP

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Collocations and idioms with keep


List of common collocations and idioms with "keep" with examples and meanings. Sentences can be formed as "verb and noun" or used as "idioms". Here are some:


1. Keep a diary: To write regularly in a diary.

  • I decided to keep a diary of our trip to Cairo.

2. Keep a promise: To fulfill or be faithful to a promise one has made. 

  • It is easier to make a promise than to keep a promise.

3. Keep a secret: To not divulge confidential information to anyone else.

  • Oh, no, don't tell Mary—everyone knows that she can't keep secrets!

4. Keep a promise: To fulfill or be faithful to a promise one has made. 

  • How can you expect me to trust you when you keep proving that you can't keep a promise?

5. Keep calm: To keep calm and relax.

  • Please, whatever happens, try to keep calm.

6. Keep control: To maintain control (over someone or something)

  • My mother likes to keep control of everything.

7. Keep in touch

A: To maintain contact with another person, especially at intervals so as to remain up to date with each other's lives.

  • My old high school friends and I tried keeping in touch once we graduated, but we all started drifting apart once college got underway.

B: An informal parting phrase, especially with someone one isn't likely to see again anytime soon.

  • OK, Deborah, thank you for your audition. Keep in touch!

8. Keep quiet

A: To be quiet; to not make any noise. Often used as an imperative. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is sometimes used between "keep" and "quiet".

  • Please keep quiet during the movie, kids. People are trying to listen.

B: To force someone to stay silent or not divulge information. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "keep" and "quiet." 

  • They offered me a ton of money to keep me quiet, but I'm still going to testify.

9. Keep quiet (about something): To refrain from divulging any information about something. 

  • They offered me a ton of money to keep quiet, but I'm still going to testify at the trial.

10. Keep score: To keep the result to continue.

  • We have to keep scoring the points in the fourth quarter.

11. Keep the change: To keep the rest of the amount  (to someone) when you pay more.

  • I told the taxi driver to keep the change.


12. Keep your balance: To remain steady on your feet and not stumble or fall.

  • You must learn to keep your balance in skating.

13. keep a cool head: To maintain a calm demeanor and think clearly in a difficult, stressful, or troubling situation. 

  • I know you're anxious about this midterm exam, but just remember what we've gone over and try to keep a cool head. 

14. Keep a firm grip on (someone or something)

A: Literally, to maintain a tight grasp on someone or something. 

  • The bouncer kept a firm grip on the man as he forced him out of the club.

B: To maintain strict control over someone or something.

  • You need to keep a firm grip on this new recruit. He's got talent, sure, but he's reckless!

15. Keep ahead (of someone or something)

A: To remain physically in front of someone or something.

  • Keep ahead of me on the road so I'll know when to turn.

B: To maintain someone's or something's position in front of someone or something else. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "keep" and "ahead".

  • Make sure you keep the car in front of that bus on the highway.

C: To complete tasks in a timely manner, so as to avoid a backlog or burdensome amount of work. 

  • So many requests have been pouring in that I simply can't keep ahead of my emails.

16. Keep (one) on tenterhooks: To cause one to remain in a continual state of anxious, excited, or nervous anticipation. "Tenterhooks," often mistakenly written or pronounced as "tenderhooks," were the hooks on a frame called a "tenter." They were used to fasten stretched cloth to allow it to dry. 

  • With the score tied, fans on both sides were kept on tenterhooks for the entire last quarter of the game.

17. Keep it up: To continue doing something in the same manner or to the same level of proficiency. 

  • You're doing a great job so far, James! Keep it up!

18. Keep up

A: Literally, to physically hold or maintain something in an upright position or at a certain level. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is sometimes used between "keep" and "up"

  • Do you think these pushpins will be strong enough to keep up the posterboard?

B: To prevent someone from sleeping by making noise, distracting them, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "keep" and "up"

  • Please stop shouting! You'll keep up your mother, and she has an early day tomorrow.

C: To maintain or adhere to an agreement.

  • How can I trust you if you never keep up your end of the bargain?

D: To maintain something to an expected or acceptable level.

  • Keeping up the exterior of the house has been a lot more work than I expected.

E: To move or progress at the same rate as others.

  • My leg was hurt, but I was able to keep up with the rest of the team during our run.

F: To continue doing something in the way one has been doing it. Often used as an imperative, especially in the phrases "keep it up" and "keep up the good work."

  • Wow, these look great. Keep up the good work, James!

G: To stay informed about something or in touch with someone by following the latest developments or communicating regularly.

  • It's so hard to keep up with the news these days, especially when a huge story breaks every day.

19. Keep on the right(-hand) side: To remain on the right-most side (of something, especially a road or path).

  • I always have to remind myself to keep on the right side of the road when I drive in America.

20. Keep one step ahead (of someone or something): To continue to be slightly more prepared, skilled, or successful than someone or something else. 

  • I've been working extra hard so that I can keep one step ahead of the new girl who has been vying for my job.

21. Keep (one's) mouth shut: To not discuss or mention something. 

  • He needs to keep his mouth shut and stop telling our family secrets to everyone in town!

22. Keep on trucking: A phrase of encouragement that one keep going or persisting with something.

  • Come on, the project is not a total failure—keep on trucking!

23. Keep mum: To remain silent; to not say anything (e.g., about a secret). 

  • You have to keep mum about Dave's retirement party—we want it to be a surprise.

24. Keep (someone or something) on (their or its) feet

A: Literally, to cause someone to remain standing or continue walking.

  • It was a very interesting tour, but it kept us on our feet for nearly six hours.

B: To give one the means of remaining awake or active.

  • Thank you for bringing us this coffee. It will keep us on our feet for the rest of the morning.

C: To ensure that something remains operational, stable, or capable of success.

  • We've done everything in our power to keep this program on its feet, but it is simply not economically viable any longer. 

25. Keep on keeping on: To continue (some activity or life in general) as best as one can. "Keeping" is often colloquially shortened to "keepin"."

  • You've got to just keep on keeping on, no matter how trying the work may get.

26. Keep (one's)/an eye on (someone or something): To watch someone or something carefully; to be attentive to someone or something. 

  • You need to keep your eye on the soup so that it doesn't bubble over.

27. Keep a weather eye open: An instruction to monitor someone or something, often because the person or thing in question may turn out to be dangerous.

  • I think Tom's a thief, so keep a weather eye open around him.




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