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  1. #1
    Harry12345 is offline Member
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    Default What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Hello teachers What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Which of these sentences are correct ?

    1 My car has broken down.
    2 My car has broken .
    3 My watch is broken.
    4 My watch is broken down.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring is offline Member
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Of your examples, only #4 would not typically be heard in North America. #1 and #3 are most common.

    Very generally, if something is broken, it is seperated into more than one piece. By broken down, some machine or mechanism is no longer functioning, but it is still in one piece. There is no hard rule for how we (NA) use these terms, and there can be some overlap.

    We wouldn't say our watch is 'broken down', we would say, "My watch has stopped." OR "My watch is broken."

    I don't know if this will help or only confuse you more: It would be quite common to hear someone say, "My car broke down on the way to work. Something must have broken."

  3. #3
    Harry12345 is offline Member
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Of your examples, only #4 would not typically be heard in North America. #1 and #3 are most common.

    Very generally, if something is broken, it is seperated into more than one piece. By broken down, some machine or mechanism is no longer functioning, but it is still in one piece. There is no hard rule for how we (NA) use these terms, and there can be some overlap.

    We wouldn't say our watch is 'broken down', we would say, "My watch has stopped." OR "My watch is broken."

    I don't know if this will help or only confuse you more: It would be quite common to hear someone say, "My car broke down on the way to work. Something must have broken."

    Thanks Mr Tutoring!

    According to your writing. I know if something is broken, it is seperated into more than one piece. By broken down, some machine or mechanism is no longer functioning, but it is still in one piece. , But my watch has stopped, the watch is still one piece, why we can still say "My watch is broken" not"My watch is broken down"

  4. #4
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Why we can still say "My watch is broken" not "My watch is broken down".
    You have been told what a native speaker would say.

    If you want to say "My watch is broken down", go ahead and say it. It will mark you out as a non-native speaker.

    Rover

  5. #5
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    The only suggestion I would give is that we usually use "break down" for larger appliances.

    My car has broken down.
    The washing machine has broken down.
    My oven has broken down.
    His fridge has broken down.

    My watch is broken.
    The clock has broken.
    The picture frame has broken.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    The only suggestion I would give is that we usually use "break down" for larger appliances.
    That's the only answer I could come up with. I did not post it, because it didn't sound very helpful.

    That is not a criticism of emsr2d2's response. What I meant was, I thought there was probably a more convincing answer that I couldn't think of. Apparently there isn't.

  7. #7
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What's the diffrence between break and break down?

    I think size may be the correct criterion. A child pretending with a toy car might say, "it has broken down", but if his little brother smashes it, he'll cry, "my car is broke!" (even if it's in one piece).
    Last edited by BobSmith; 17-Jan-2012 at 13:21.

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