Session 2

Break up, break down, get up, make out... There are lots of multi-word verbs in English, and they can be confusing. But don't give up! We're here to help.

በዚህ ክፍል ያሉ ክፍለ ጊዜያት

ክፍለጊዜያት 2 ነጥብ።

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Multi-word verbs with 'break'

Verbs in English are usually just one word, like break and take. But sometimes a verb can have two words, like break up and take up. And occasionally there's even a third word, as in break up with

In this session we'll introduce you to the wonderful world of multi-word verbs, often known as phrasal verbs. There are lots of them in English and their meanings can be quite confusing - as you might know, when we add a second word to the main verb it usually changes the meaning. Let's take a look at how this works with the main verb break

To do

Read this short story about a man who decided to rob a bank. How many examples of multi-word verbs with break are there? And what do they mean?

ፅሁፉን ያንብቡና ቀጣዩን ክንውን ይሞክሩ

Mark the monkey robber

Mark broke in at midnight. He stuffed as much cash as he could into a sack and ran back to his car. But just as he was driving away, the car broke down.

Mark was caught and went to jail. But every day he thought of new ways to break out. Finally he escaped, dressed as a gorilla. But when he got home, his girlfriend broke up with him. She said she didn't want a man who robbed banks and dressed as a monkey.

To do

A sad ending for Mark. But did you count all four multi-word verbs? They were: to break in, to break down, to break out and to break up (with). You might know some of them already. But just to make sure, let's do a test about their meanings. Can you work them out from the story?

Break, break, break

4 Questions

Choose the correct words to complete the definitions

እንኳን ደስ ያለዎ ሙከራውን አጠናቀዋል
Excellent! Great job! መጥፎ እድል ነጥብ አስመዝግበዋል :
x / y


So, as you've seen, these four multi-word verbs have different meanings.

They are made of the main verb, break, and an adverb, like in, out, up and down. You might recognise in, up, out and down as prepositions, but here they behave more like adverbs.

And some of them can be followed by a preposition, like with. Normally we say you break up 'with' someone.

Multiple meanings

And these aren't the only multi-word verbs with break. If you break away from a group, for example, you leave it. And how about to break off? Well, it has three meanings:

1) to separate something from something else
He broke off a bit of naan bread to eat.

2) to end a relationship
They broke off their engagement after only a week.

3) to suddenly stop speaking
Magnus broke off in the middle of his sentence when his girlfriend walked in.

So as you can see, it's a huge topic. In fact, there are whole books just about phrasal verbs. For more help visit our grammar reference, which has more information about the form, meaning and use of multi-word verbs.


So how do we begin to make sense of the world of multi-word verbs? One way is to learn them in groups by topic. That's what we'll do next, with the topic of travel. See you there!

Session Vocabulary

  • to break up
    to end a relationship

    to break down
    (of a car or vehicle) to stop working

    to break out
    (here) to escape from prison

    to break in
    to use force to enter a place

    to break off
    1) to separate something from something else

    2) to end a relationship

    3) to suddenly stop speaking

    to check in
    to arrive at a hotel and register your details; also to give your information at an airport before you fly

    to check out
    to pay the bill and leave a hotel

    to pick (someone) up
    to collect someone from a place

    to see (someone/something) off
    to go to a place that someone is leaving from to say goodbye

    to take off
    (of a plane) to leave the ground

    to touch down
    (of a plane) after flying, to touch the ground again

    to set off
    to begin a journey

    to get in
    (of a plane or train) to arrive