0

I am not sure about the usage of the word break. Do English native speakers use it to describe if something stops working?

1

2 Answers 2

2

Yes, break can refer to both physical damage and something that no longer works.

I broke my phone screen. Look at the crack!

and

You broke my computer! It still looks okay, but it no longer turns on.

are both proper sentences.

4
  • I would definitely not use it in that way. There are plenty of more appropriate words you could use. In the case of computers there is always the question of whether a malfunction is due to a hardware or software fault. If I knew it was a software matter I would definitely not use "broke". But nor would I use it in the instance you describe. I think the most I'd say is "You appear to have damaged my computer". But diagnosis is never straightforward and you might wish to say "Since you used it my computer no longer turns on".
    – WS2
    Jul 3, 2018 at 15:41
  • @WS2 well ... there goes 'blowed up' too.
    – lbf
    Jul 3, 2018 at 15:46
  • 1
    @WS2 "I would definitely not use it in that way. There are plenty of more appropriate words you could use." You're overthinking this. "Broke" in this context is idiomatic and common usage among native English speakers. Jul 3, 2018 at 16:21
  • @AleksandrH "It's broke innit" is certainly "native English". All I was saying was what I, also a native English speaker, would say.
    – WS2
    Jul 4, 2018 at 8:12
0

If we are confident that the computer

no longer works

then I believe the term "broken" is applicable regardless of whether it is a software or a hardware issue. Assuming that it "still works" and that there is a software issue, then the computer is more on the end of being damaged (as referenced by @WS2) or messed up (more colloquial).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.