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    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    broke open?

    Dear teacher,
    I have a question concerning the use of verb. If someone wants to break something like a fortune cookies in order to get the slip of paper out from inside, would any English native speaker use the verb "break" ? Say, "I need to break the cookies open." Or would natvie speaker use the verb "crack" and the sentence would be like I need to crack te cookies open to get the slip of paprer out." ? The use of the verb "break" seems a little strange. Please tell me how to say it. Thanks.

  1. Fazzu's Avatar
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    Re: broke open?

    I am not a native English speaker.But in this case,I think the verb 'break' is appropriate.Because there is a piece of paper in the cookie, right?

    Also,I think you should say:"I need to break the cookies to get the piece of paper out".

    Anyway,you better check with the native English speakers as well.

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    Re: broke open?

    Personally, I would use 'break open' for a fortune cookie. I think the reason is because I usually just separate it rather quickly and completely in one forceful motion, which sometimes causes it to fall all apart, even though the initial breakpoint in the middle may start with a crack. But 'crack open' would certainly be acceptable. 'Cracking open' to me implies an initial crack or partial separation point, which leads to a complete but somewhat orderly separation thereafter; a separation that's probably neater than what a breakage might result in. Another example is 'crack open' an egg. I usually strike it first to cause the initial crack in the surface in order to open it. Same thing with a coconut. If I have a piggy bank and am going to open it by hitting it so it falls all apart, 'break it open' could be used. But if it's tapped on so it just splits in half somewhat neatly, 'crack it open' is useable too. Some uses are 'crack open' are figurative, like 'crack open a book'.

  2. #4

    Re: broke open?

    I would think "break open" or even just
    "open" would work.

    Have you opened your cookie yet?
    sounds more natural than
    Have you broken open your cookie yet? :)

    This Chinese cookie thing reminds me
    of a scene in the movie "Mickey Blue Eyes".
    It is a comedy/crime/romance movie.
    In it, a British guy is going out with the
    daughter of a mobster (mafia man). He
    wants to propose to her, so he arranges
    with a Chinese restaurant owner
    to insert a "fortune" into a fortune cookie.
    The "fortune" contains
    the question he is going to pop (if she will
    marry him). But the girl somehow does not
    want to open the fortune cookie. You can
    read here (scroll all the way to the bottom
    to read)
    what the frustrated Chinese restaurant
    owner says to her. It is a funny scene, because you
    don't expect the Chinese woman (owner) to be saying this. ;)
    There is another funny scene about the cookie going to the
    wrong table and the girl there opens it and screams in joy
    thinking that her guy had popped the question.

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    Re: broke open?

    "Cracked open" seems most popular on Google:

    "cracked open the fortune cookie": 175 googles
    "opened the fortune cookie": 55 googles
    "broke open the fortune cookie": 21 googles

    However, with such a (surprisingly) small number of hits overall, it doesn't necessarily prove anything.


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