Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 214
    #1

    Break Out Into War

    I have a question about a possible usage error here:


    "An American diplomatic commission was sent to France in July 1797 to negotiate problems that were threatening to break out into war."


    Is it standard English to write "the problems broke out into war"? I cannot find this usage in dictionaries.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,104
    #2

    Re: Break Out Into War

    It sounds fine to me. You cannot expect to find "the problems broke out into war" in a dictionary.

    "verb 1. break out - start abruptly; "After 1989, peace broke out in the former East Bloc"
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/break+out

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 214
    #3

    Re: Break Out Into War

    @Raymott

    If I substitute that "start abruptly" sense into my sentence, the sentence would become:


    "The problems started abruptly into war"


    which makes no sense.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 2,398
    #4

    Re: Break Out Into War

    Perhaps, but language isn't math - what's true one way doesn't necessarily hold true for the inverse.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,104
    #5

    Re: Break Out Into War

    Quote Originally Posted by learningspirit View Post
    "The problems started abruptly into war"

    which makes no sense.
    Dictionaries give a meaning, not a list of substitute terms that you can just plug in. The meaning has to be given in terms that don't use the index word or phrase, therefore unless the dictionary can give an exact synonym (quite rare), it has to be suggestive.
    "The problems abruptly turned into war"; "The problems abruptly became war". "The problems erupted into war".
    While you might not write "The problems started abruptly into war," you can get an idea of the meaning from the example that is given by the dictionary.

Similar Threads

  1. What's the diffrence between break and break down?
    By Harry12345 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 17-Jan-2012, 13:09
  2. comfort break and break
    By Ju in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-Mar-2011, 14:06
  3. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2011, 11:22
  4. war
    By peter123 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2008, 08:33

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •