Advanced English Grammar



Phrasal Verb BREAK

The phrasal verb break is like all the other English phrasal verbs. Take a verb, add a preposition and... BANG!

Instant new verb which changes with every preposition.

You know the deal by now. Study the list and do the exercise that follows. Then check your answers below.

BREAK AWAY = A. leave others behind B. leave State or organization

A. Lance Armstrong broke away from the other riders to win his 8th tour De France.
B. The break away Republic of Osetia is causing problems for their neighbors again.

BREAK DOWN = A. end negotiations B. begin to cry C. stop working D. have physiological problems

A. The mid-east peace talks broke down after only two days.
B. She broke down when he left her.
C. The truck broke down in the desert.
D. She had a break down after her husband died in a terrorist attack.

BREAK IN = A. wear or use sth new B. interrupt C. enter unlawfully

A. I need to break in these new shoes... they're killing my feet.
B. While discussing the subject, John broke in with his take on the situation.
C. There was a break in down the street last night be sure to lock up.

BREAK IN ON = interrupt

John broke in on our private conversation... how rude!

BREAK INTO = enter unlawfully

A burglar broke into our house and took all of my mom's jewels.

BREAK OFF = A. end relationship B. stop speaking about sth

A. Are you still with Jill? No, we broke it off in May.
B. He broke off in mid sentence and then started speaking about sth else.

BREAK OUT = A. happen suddenly, violently B. get a rash C. use for celebrating

A. Violent protests broke out in Athens after the shooting of a student.
B. She broke out in red blotchy spots before the big exam.
C. Break out the champagne! I'm getting married!

BREAK OUT OF = escape

The violent patient broke out of the prison ward of the psychiatric hospital.

BREAK THROUGH = advance in science, medicine social issues etc.

Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier in professional baseball.

BREAK UP = A. break into pieces B. stop a fight C. end a relationship

A. I broke up the puzzle into a thousand pieces.
B. As a teacher, I've had to break up a fight or two.
C. They broke up after being together for 3 years.

Phrasal Verb BREAK exercise

1. "Why did the negotiations break ____ again? Don't they want to have peace?."
2. John broke ____ with Jill again. I doubt they'll get married now.
3. He broke _____ from the group and won by more than 10 meters..
4. Jill broke ____ the glass ceiling. She is the first woman president of her company.
5. Don't let him break ____ us. We've got a lot to talk about.
6. Our house was broken ____ last week but nothing was taken.
7. Like the song says, breaking ____ is hard to do.
8. He broke ____ jail and now he's on the run.
9. Professor Jona is known for breaking ____ in mid-sentence. He's losing it.
10. Our truck broke ___ on the way home from school and we had to walk home.

Your score is

For more information about the phrasal verb break click on the preceding link.