I was working as an intern in Malaysia.

Once day, my advisor asked me to check some electronic device.

He said: "Can you check them for me if which one is faulty please separate it to another heap?"

I wander that why did they prefer to use the word of "faulty" than "broken"?

  • 'I have been interned' means you have been imprisoned by the authorities for reasons other than criminal activity. I believe you meant "I was working as an intern". But really there are so many errors here it is difficult to know what you are asking: could you recheck the language please? Apr 25, 2014 at 19:15
  • I was going to cite dictionary definitions, but I have changed my mind: (1) Faulty is mildly archaic, but has a similar definition to broken. (2) Something can be faulty but not necessarily considered "broken". For example, having a manufacturing defect might cause a product to be considered faulty, or imperfect, but not broken. Summation: When he asked for faulty devices, he wanted the ones that were imperfect, with faults, OR broken, not just broken. Apr 25, 2014 at 19:23
  • "Broken" can have a connotation of being physically broken, for instance, a cracked housing. "Faulty" has a connotation of being non-functioning, or not properly functioning. That fault may not be as a result of something having broken, but perhaps as a flaw at manufacturing time, or bad software, or a dead battery, or any other fault that doesn't require physical breakage.
    – Emily
    Apr 25, 2014 at 19:44
  • 2
    You're overanalysing this. He had to use some word that got across his point, so use some word that got across his point he did. Why are you not wondering why he said separate, or check, or heap, and not any of the many possible alternatives for these? Why am I using these words here right now and not others? There's no reason to single out faulty. It's just a word.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 25, 2014 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


Broken means non-functioning. It may imply that some parts of the object are separated from its physical instance, but the main information that the word "broken" gives is about the inadequate state of functionality.

Faulty however, does not by itself make any statement about functionality but rather about the normal or original state of the object and our expectations. A faulty object isn't necessarily non-functioning, but it just isn't the way it was originally meant to be or isn't alike other objects of the same class in some negative way.

I'll make an example: A car can be considered faulty when, it was intended by the manufacturer to be red, but instead turned out to be pink. If you can still drive it around your neighborhood and don't worry about looking bad, it is faulty but not broken. If, however, a tire is missing, it is faulty and broken.


Broken implies something used to be whole. So faulty is more general, appling to new goods that never were correctly functional as well as those that later failed.

  • +1 You have captured the essence.......to be broken it must have worked at one time.........something faulty could have always been faulty. Apr 25, 2014 at 23:02

If something is faulty, it is defective (it has a defect on it).

Think of those faulty items sold as new at some websites. They indeed are faulty but in working order, and so they still can be used or worn.

On the other hand, If something is broken, it cannot be used as such and, theoretically, should not be sold unfixed.

If unrepairable, a broken item may end up recycled or in the trash.

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