difference in meaning between crack, break and fracture (verbs, nouns)

Status
Not open for further replies.

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
Hello one more time!

Could someone tell me what is the difference in meaning between crack, break and fracture (verbs, nouns)?

  • to crack means to break without causing material to be separated from another material
  • to break means to cause such separation of material
  • to fracture means to break (cause separation) in terms of something hard or heavy.

All the three definitions are very confusing. Could you straighten them out for me?
Thank you.
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
The definitions seem clear enough.

Why don't you try writing some sample sentences of your own?

Rover
 

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
They are not clear enough for me. I am not a native speaker of English, that is why I would be grateful if somebody could provide a confirmation that I am right or wrong in understanding the difference between crack, break and fracture.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
They are not clear enough for me. I am not a native speaker of English, that is why I would be grateful if somebody could provide a confirmation that I am right or wrong in understanding the difference between crack, break and fracture.
We would be happy to. That is why Rover suggested you write some sample sentences of your own. We will then be able to confirm that you have understood, or point out where you have misunderstood.
 

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
  1. The mirror has cracked - although there are some small defects, the whole structure is still in one piece.
  2. I broke my leg while playing football - my leg was broken into pieces - it is probably also possible to say I fractured my leg while playing football.
  3. He fractured his ankle in the fall - the same as he fractured his ankle in the fall.

Sometimes "fracture" is used to mean "break" and sometime is understood to mean "crack".
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
  1. The mirror has cracked - although there are some small defects, the whole structure is still in one piece.:tick:
  2. I broke my leg while playing football - [STRIKE]my leg was broken into pieces[/STRIKE] (legs don't break into pieces while playing football) - it is probably also possible to say 'I fractured my leg while playing football'.:tick:
  3. He fractured his ankle in the fall. Possible, but 'broke' is more natural here.

'The vase broke when it fell off the shelf.'

'The mechanical digger went too deep and fractured the town's main sewer.'

Rover
 

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
You may as well write 'The mechanical digger went too deep and broke the town's main sewer.'

Could you give me some rules for using "crack, break and fracture" or circumstances under which they can be used?
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
There are no rules — just usage guidelines based on what you quoted in message #1.
 

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
Does "fracture" always mean "break something hard and stiff; break a bone"?
Are "fracture" and "break" interchangeable?
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Does "fracture" always mean "break something hard and stiff; break a bone"? Usually. I'm not going to say 'always'.

Are "fracture" and "break" interchangeable? Sometimes. 'Fracture' is the medical term for 'break' in the case of bones. A hospital department will be called a 'fracture clinic'. Serious bone breaks are called 'fractures' — such as 'a fractured skull or pelvis' and a 'compound fracture'. In common parlance I'd say 'I broke my leg last week'.

Rover
 

Tomasz Klimkiewicz

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Member Type
Other
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
JACEK - Rover_KE is right, you know, strict rules do not always apply. Just to give you an example directly related to your enquiry: we say "to crack a nut", but "to break an egg" while in both cases the activity is just the same, to crush (another possibility) the outer shell to get what's inside ;)

Very often the collocation (more or less stemming from traditional usage) is the key, so learning from contexts and actual word usage by English authors is the way to go.

All the best, mate!
Tomasz
 

JACEK1

Key Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
Your latest answer was very helpful, Rover_KE.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top