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What's the best verb to express that I opened the packaging of a product by tearing it off?

Tear apart the packaging? Rip the packaging? Or is there any better verb or phrase to be used?

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If you don't intend to say that you opened the package rather savagely, I would suggest using "tore open the package".


I tore open the package only to be disappointed by what I found inside.

The choice of the phrase "rip apart" suggests the package was opened in a fierce and savage manner, probably destroying the packing material in the process.


I had been waiting for the package to arrive all week and ripped the cover apart as soon as I got my hands on it.

As an added note I would like to mention that both the choices do suggest that the packing material/wrapper was damaged during unpacking. However, "cutting open" the package would mean that the entire operation was carried out in a sophisticated and careful manner.

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Thank you. FYI, I do intend to express the violence of the action :) – user110 Oct 4 '13 at 17:10
Sure then, take your pick - tear or rip, depending upon the intensity of the violence. – KeyBrd Basher Oct 7 '13 at 7:16

Collins defines tear as

to cause (material, paper, etc) to come apart or (of material, etc) to come apart; rip

It defines rip as

to tear or be torn violently or roughly; split or be rent

While the definitions are similar and each includes a reference to the other, rip seems to have a slightly more aggressive tone. It is my impression that the term tear is more often used in the directions about opening packages.

There is an accepted phrase tear strip that means

a strip, string, etc., that is pulled to open a box, wrapper, or the like

Additionally, the phrase rip apart suggests a destruction of the packaging rather than a surgical opening. (When dealing with the clam-shell plastic packaging that has become common, many people experience a desire to rip apart the packaging out of sheer frustration with its resilience, but that is usually counterproductive.)

If the package is being opened along preconfigured lines or a logical opening point, I would use tear open.

He carefully tore open the cereal box along the perforations.

If the wrapping is being disassembled in an exuberant manner, I would choose rip open

The toddler ripped open the birthday presents with gusto

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Thank you. I do intend to suggest that the packaging was destructed after being opened. I'm more interested in what word, i.e. apart or open or something else in this case, would be chosen to go along (i'm not sure about using "go along" here either) with "rip" or "tear". – user110 Oct 4 '13 at 17:15
@user007 In that case ripped apart, torn apart, torn to shreds or even shredded would all convey the destruction of the packaging. A more archaic form would be ripped asunder or torn asunder. – bib Oct 4 '13 at 17:57

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