I've seen so many articles in the internet using keep your relationships..... I also tried to look-up maintain on my thesaurus and turned out two of the synonims are keep sth up and keep sth going. However, the only verbs that collocate with relationship on my dictionary are have, begin/establish/form, build/develop/forge, end, maintain (there are more, but I couldn't find keep).

Now I'm questioning whether they use keep+relationships because it's synonymous with maintain since it collocates with relationship or just using a random verb that they think it matches? In this case I'm assuming keep doesn't collocate with relationships.

In general, can we really match verb+something that not collocates each other? And related to this question, which is more appropriate between

  1. Keep your relationships
  2. Maintain your relationships

Or it depends on the context?

2 Answers 2


'Keep' and 'maintain' can sometimes be used interchangeably. For example, you can say that a garden is "well maintained" or "well kept", and both mean it is neat and in good order.

However, "keep" has a much broader use than just 'maintenance' and is often used as part of a verb phrase, for example "keep going".

"Maintain your relationship" sounds fine, and would mean that you do whatever is necessary to keep the relationship 'healthy'. But "keep your relationship" sounds odd - it needs an adjective, for example "keep your relationship healthy" or "keep your relationship strong". Without an adjective, it could take on another meaning of keep which is to retain.


Well for a start they are slightly different in meaning. You need to maintain relationships if you mean to keep them. However I personally think maintain is the best fit for this situation. However as nowadays people seem to have more adversarial relationships maybe keep is the correct word. "Like Block, Repeat".

keep verb (CONTINUE DOING)( also keep on); to continue doing something without stopping, or to do it repeatedly: Ref C.E.D.

maintain verb [T] (CONTINUE TO HAVE); to continue to have; to keep in existence, or not allow to become less. Ref C.E.D.

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