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Unit 1: English In A Minute
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  1. 1 English In A Minute

Session 80

Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!

Activity 1

5 uses of break

Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Sam's going to explain to us 5 uses of the word break! Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English!

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Sam
We're going to look at five different uses of the word break.

As a verb, break can have many meanings, but today we're only going to look at three.

Number one. It means to 'separate into pieces'. Oh, I sat on my glasses, but thankfully they didn't break!

Two, break means that something 'doesn't operate or doesn't function properly'. Why is my laptop not working? Don't tell me it's broken.

And meaning number three. It means to 'surpass or do better than something else'.

Have you seen that new horror film? It broke all the box office records.

As an adjective, breaking is very often used together with the word news to mean that the news is 'very, very recent'. I get breaking news notifications on my phone.

And finally, as a noun, break means to 'stop working for a short time'. It's time for a break!

5 uses of break

Irregular verb
Break
is an irregular verb. Its forms are break, broke, broken.

Separate
Break
can mean separate into pieces

  • Oh, I sat on my glasses, but thankfully they didn't break!
  • The burglar broke the window to get into the house.

Doesn't work
Break
can mean that something doesn't operate or function correctly. We can also say that something broken 'doesn't work'.

  • Why is my laptop not working? Don't tell me it's broken.
  • My phone has been broken for months. I need a new one.

Surpass
Break
can mean surpass or do better than something else - especially in the context of records or sports.

  • Have you seen that new horror film? It broke all the box office records.
  • Once again, the UK athlete has broken the world record!

News
As an adjective, breaking often describes news which is very very recent or still developing.

  • I get breaking news notifications on my phone.
  • We're live at 5 with a breaking news update.

Stop
As a noun, a break is a period of time where you stop working for a short while.

  • It's time for a break!
  • Come back inside class, children! Break time is over!

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