Expressions using Themes (e.g. Collocations, IELTS, Business English)

Collocations With The Word Break

Collocations are words that usually go together in English.

Here we are going to look at words that go with 'break' to make useful and popular expressions you will hear in social and professional contexts.


Break a promise

If you 'break a promise', you deliberately fail to fulfil an agreement or obligation.

Examples

  • I assured the client that we would have the products ready for Friday, and I don't intend to break that promise.
  • I am a man of my word. I never break a promise.
  • You said you would be here an hour ago. You broke your promise!


Break the news

When you 'break the news' to someone, it means you tell them something often surprising or sometimes unpleasant.

Examples

  • I have to leave the company in September. I'm dreading breaking the news to my manager. She won't be happy.
  • Fiona just told me she is pregnant. I can't wait to break the news to the rest of our friends!


Break even

When you 'break even', it means you don't make a loss or a profit on a particular project.

Examples

  • As you can see by our business plan, we hope to break even by the end of Year Two.
  • We didn't think this project would generate a lot of revenue but we were surprised to see we broke even by the end of the last quarter.


Break the rules/law

When you 'break the rules/law' you do not obey them or do something that is illegal.

Examples

  • When I was in school I wasn't very well behaved. I used to always break the rules and I never did my homework.
  • You have to know the rules of storytelling before you can break them.
  • I don't care what your excuse is - if you steal from somebody you are breaking the law and should be punished.


Break through*

When we 'break through' something, we cross or pass through a barrier or obstacle that was keeping us from moving forward.

Examples

  • The band weren't doing very well in America, but their new single helped them to break through and increase their popularity.
  • The protest turned violent when the crowds broke through the lines of police.


*Note: a 'breakthrough' (noun) is a sudden or dramatic development or advancement.

Examples

  • Scientists have just made a dramatic breakthrough in cancer research.
  • This device is an example of a breakthrough in voice-activated technology for the home.
  • The band reached Number 1 with their breakthrough single.


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