Session 4

Vocabulary: 8 uses of 'break'

Sit back and enjoy the story of Romeo and Juliet and learn eight different ways to use the word 'break'

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Activity 1

Romeo and Juliet part one - 8 uses of 'break'

A story of two star-crossed lovers
The English word break has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English's own version of William Shakespeares' Romeo and Juliet - and we've found many different ways to use the word break in it. 

To do

As you watch part one of the story, listen out for the different uses of the word break - and decide whether this summary of the story is correct or wrong:

  • Romeo and Juliet have run away together because their families are against their relationship.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello, I'm Jonny. Today's story is a love story – about two star-crossed lovers. It's full of romance but there's plenty of misunderstandings too. Maybe it sounds familiar!

So, there's a handsome young boy called Romeo and a beautiful young girl called Juliet. They meet at a party and fall madly in love – as young people tend to do! But there's a problem – Juliet's cousin sees this and breaks the news to her family. Both families hate each other and really don't want them to marry. And want them to break off any relationship they may have.

But Romeo and Juliet really fancy each other. He breaks into her garden and stands beneath her bedroom balcony calling out romantic messages to her. They finally decide, against their parent's wishes, to get married in secret.

However, just as they are about to tie the knot, Juliet's cousin goes to fight Romeo and force him to break up with lovely Juliet. Using swords, they slash at each other trying to injure one another until finally, Romeo kills the cousin. Now he's in big trouble. He runs away to hide in the forest – leaving Juliet behind. If he ever goes back to the city he will be put to death.  

I'll leave the story there. But join me again next time to find out if Romeo and Juliet ever meet again. Bye for now.

To do

How was that? The summary was wrong: Romeo and Juliet's families are against their relationship, but Romeo has run away alone, not with Juliet. Will they ever meet again?

Now, have a go at our quiz to check you know the first 4 uses of break.

Romeo and Juliet - the story so far...

4 Questions

Let's check your understanding of the story - and the words and phrases with break. Decide whether each statement about the story is true or false. Look at the vocabulary box if you need help.

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It's time to find out what happens next - and to learn some more uses of break! See you on the next page.

Session Vocabulary

  • breaks the news (C2)
    tells someone about something bad

    break off (B2) 
    end a relationship

    breaks into (B1) 
    enters a place by force

    break up (B1) 
    end a relationship