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May I break in? Useful phrasal verbs with “Break”

We thought it would be a good idea to start the New Year revising common phrasal verbs, so today we have chosen a verb you are surely familiar with: break.

Break can be made into different phrasal verbs, with completely different meanings. Let’s see the most relevant examples:

  • Break away: to leave or scape from someone that is holding you.
    • Example: The police arrested the murderer, but he managed to break away.


  • Break down: a machine or vehicle stops functioning, as in the example “We took the car to the garage after it broke down“. At the same time, break down means to divide something into smaller parts or categories, for example: “During the presentation, she broke down the annual budget to show the different headings”


  • Break in/into: to enter a house or a building in an illegal way, usually to steal something.
    • Example: The burglars broke into the cottage and searched for the safe.


  • Also “Break in”, it can be a synonym for “interrupt”
    • When Margaret was talking to her friends, her husband broke in to tell her the news.


  • Break off: to end a discussion or a relationship.
    • Example: Both countries decided to break off diplomatic relations.


  • Break up: to end a relationship, especially one of a romantic nature.
    • Example: Helen and David broke up after dating for three years.


  • Break out: when something dangerous or unpleasant suddenly starts, like war or disease.
    • Example: The war between the two countries broke out after peace talks failed.


Is everything clear? Let’s practise a little:


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Phrasal verb: break %%details%%


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