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Mini Lesson: Phrasal Verb – "Break Down"


Introduction to the Target Language:


Greetings, learners! Today we dive into the phrasal verb "break down." This is a multifaceted verb that can greatly enrich your expression in English. "Break down" can be used in several contexts, notably:


  1. To separate into parts or to fail mechanically: This refers to things falling apart, either literally (like machines) or figuratively (like negotiations).

  2. To become overwhelmed by emotion: This use is about losing control of your emotions, often due to stress or sadness.


Let's explore these meanings with some practical examples to see how you can effectively use "break down" in everyday conversations.



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Example Phrases:


  1. Mechanical or Structural Failure:

  • My car broke down on the highway last night, and I had to call roadside assistance.

  • The talks between the companies broke down after disagreements over the merger terms.

  • Old barriers are breaking down as new technologies facilitate more remote collaboration.

  1. Emotional Overwhelm:

  • She broke down in tears after hearing the sad news about her grandmother.

  • Under the pressure of final exams, he finally broke down and had to seek counseling.

  • After keeping her feelings bottled up for weeks, Mary broke down during the meeting.


Gap Fill Exercise:


Fill in the gaps with "break down" in the correct form to complete these sentences:

  1. The negotiations ________ completely after neither side would compromise on the main issues.

  2. His motorcycle ________ in the middle of nowhere, so he couldn't meet us as planned.

  3. She might ________ if she doesn’t take a break from her hectic work schedule soon.

  4. When he realized he had lost the photographs, he ________ and couldn't stop crying.

  5. If the washing machine ________ again, we'll need to consider buying a new one.


How did it go? Using "break down" accurately can help you convey complex situations or emotions effectively. Keep practicing!

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