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    #1

    come along - break off

    The plate came apart in my hands.
    The plate broke off in my hands.

    Look over there! The ice of that part of the South Pole is breaking off!
    Look over there! The ice of that part of the South Pole is coming apart!

    Are these two sentences possible?

    Do "come apart" and "break off" both mean to separate into pieces in these sentences? Or is the meaning fairly different?
    Last edited by dilodi83; 05-Sep-2011 at 20:41. Reason: I made a mistake

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    #2

    Re: come along - break off

    'come apart' means more 'to crumble' or separate into parts.

    A plate would not crumble in your hands.

    An iceberg could crumble or it could break off (from the main part0
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    #3

    Re: come along - break off

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    The plate came apart in my hands.
    The plate broke off in my hands.

    I think of "break off" and "come apart" as separating into two pieces unless you would specify the number of pieces. So, I would prefer to say "the plate broke in my hands", if I'm not particularly concerned about the number of pieces but moreso with the fact that it broke.

    Look over there! The ice of that part of the South Pole is breaking off!
    Look over there! The ice of that part of the South Pole is coming apart!

    First, I can't imagine ice of a part of the South Pole "breaking off". Breaking off from what? It's just not the right term to use- maybe breaking/shattering/splitting and certainly not "coming apart".

    Are these two sentences possible?

    Do "come apart" and "break off" both mean to separate into pieces in these sentences? Or is the meaning fairly different?
    b.

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    #4

    Re: come along - break off

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    b.
    So, according to what you said:

    - That plate broke in my hands, because it was too fragile.
    - The plate you had seen on the table this mornig, came apart in two many pieces an hour ago.
    - This part of that ancient plate broke off from the rest because I handled it too roughly.

    Did I get the sense of what you said?
    "To come apart" highlights that something separates into smaller pieces, and "to break off" indicates that something separates from a larger part of a surface. Is this correct?

    What about this sentence?: Do you have any glue? The cover my this book is coming apart and I want to stick it together again.
    In this sentence "to come apart"does not mean to separate into pieces, but simply to separate from the rest of the book...

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: come along - break off

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    So, according to what you said:

    - That plate broke in my hands, because it was too fragile.
    - The plate you had seen on the table this mornig, came apart in two many pieces an hour ago.
    - This part of that ancient plate broke off from the rest because I handled it too roughly.

    Did I get the sense of what you said?
    "To come apart" highlights that something separates into smaller pieces, and "to break off" indicates that something separates from a larger part of a surface. Is this correct?

    What about this sentence?: Do you have any glue? The cover my this book is coming apart and I want to stick it together again.
    In this sentence "to come apart"does not mean to separate into pieces, but simply to separate from the rest of the book...
    If the cover of your book is coming apart, it's breaking into two or more pieces.
    If you want to say that it's separating from the rest of the book, say that it's coming off.

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    #6

    Re: come along - break off

    Right! what about the other ones? Are they correct? Did I use the verbs correctly?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: come along - break off

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Right! what about the other ones? Are they correct? Did I use the verbs correctly?
    That plate broke in my hands, because it was too fragile. This is possible.
    - The plate you had seen on the table this morning, came apart in two many pieces an hour ago. This is not possible. If you delete "two" it's possible, but not natural.
    - This part of that ancient plate broke off from the rest because I handled it too roughly. Possible but not natural.

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