Collocations With The Word Happen

Collocations are words that usually go together in English.

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

Make (it) happen

To 'make it happen' means to cause something to occur, or find a way to do something. Can be used as an imperative.


  • A trading deal is beneficial for both of us, so let's make it happen.
  • In my speech at the conference, I discussed ways of identifying business opportunities and making them happen.
  • That proposal needs to be on my desk by the end of the day. Make it happen!

Happen to (do something)/know (somebody/something)

When you 'happen to (do something)/know (somebody/something)', you do/know it by accident or coincidence.


  • happened to meet Jack yesterday as I was walking home. I hadn't seen him in years!
  • If you happen to see Sarah today, please tell her that the boss is still waiting for that report.
  • That's funny that you mentioned you are looking for a new secretary, because I happen to know an excellent one who is available.
  • I just happened to be passing and thought I would call in for a chat.

Happen(ed) upon

If you 'happen upon' something, you find it randomly or by chance.


  • I spent ages trying to solve the problem before I happened upon the solution.
  • The detective happened upon a clue as he searched the suspect's house.
  • I was walking in the woods when I happened upon a disused cabin.

Tend(s) to happen

If something 'tends to happen', it usually or frequently occurs.


  • They pulled out of the deal at the last minute. It's funny how often that tends to happen.
  • We've had very few data breaches since we installed the new software. It tended to happen a lot more with the old system.
  • When we are rushing to meet a deadline, mistakes tend to happen.

An accident waiting to happen

'An accident waiting to happen' is a situation that is likely going to end in disaster or misfortune.


  • John should not be in charge of machinery when he is that tired. It's an accident waiting to happen!
  • There are no adequate safety measures in place in that factory. I fear it is an accident waiting to happen.
  • The new government policy is an accident waiting to happen. I hope it isn't allowed to come into law.

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