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What’s a phrasal verb? It’s a phrase containing a verb and normally either an adverb or a preposition. Today we’ll be looking at phrasal verbs that contain the verb ‘break.’

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The first phrasal verb we will discuss is ‘break down.’ It has several different meanings. The first meaning is to get very upset and sad. For example, “The man broke down when he received the news that his father had died.” The next meaning of ‘break down’ is when a machine or a vehicle stops working. For example, “Our car broke down on the side of the road, so we had to hitchhike to get home.”

‘Break down’ can also mean to divide something into smaller parts, or to explain something in simpler terms. For example, “The manager broke the presentation down into different phases.” “I know it can sound pretty complicated, but let me break it down for you: you sell the product, you make money. It’s that easy.”

Another phrasal verb with ‘break’ is ‘break in,’ which also has different meanings. The first is to enter a place by force. In this case, we can use ‘break in’ or ‘break into’ (if we mention the place by name). For example, “Last night some criminals broke into the shop and stole some money.” Or we could say: “Last night some criminals broke in and stole some money.” Another meaning of ‘break in’ is to wear or use something a few times so that it doesn’t feel totally new, and it feels more comfortable. For example, we can break in new shoes, and we can break in a new baseball glove.

The last phrasal verb we will go over is ‘break up.’ It has a couple different meanings. We can say that school breaks up for the summer or for Christmas, and this means that the students have a holiday break. Another meaning of ‘break up’ is to end a romantic relationship. For example, “John and Lauren broke up last week, and they’re both very sad.”

To practice phrasal verbs with ‘break,’ give the exercise a try!
A. Edstrom

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