The difference between ‘break’ and ‘brake’ is quite straightforward. ‘Break’ and ‘brake’ are homonyms, i.e., words having the same pronunciation. There is very little common ground between the two as far as their meanings are concerned, yet confusion may arise between ‘break’ and ‘brake’ due to their resemblance in spelling. Both ‘break’ and ‘brake’ are verbs as well as nouns. Here is an explanation of the difference between ‘break’ and ‘brake’.
‘Break’ as a verb means ‘to split or to be split into two or more pieces, to smash, to shatter, to fracture’, for example, by a blow or due to some strain. In a figurative sense, ‘break’ can also mean ‘to get damaged or become non-functional’, though not actually splitting into pieces, ‘to pause an activity for a limited duration’, ‘to make or become discontinuous’, ‘to reveal or find something suddenly’, ‘to surpass a record’, ‘to make or become weak’, ‘to be overwhelmed with grief’, ‘to undergo a sudden change’, etc. The principal parts of the verb ‘break’ are: ‘break, broke, broken’. As a noun, ‘break’ means ‘the act of breaking, a gap, a pause in activity, recess, or an unexpected career opportunity ’.
‘Brake’, on the other hand, as a noun means ‘a device to retard or halt the motion of a moving vehicle, or sudden motion of a stationary vehicle on a sloping surface, by applying friction’. In a figurative sense, the noun ‘brake’ can also imply ‘constraint, restraint, check, curb, deterrent, discouragement’. The verb ‘brake’ means ‘to apply brake in order to break motion’, ‘to slow down’, ‘to decelerate’, ‘to slam on the brake’, or something to that effect. The principal parts of ‘the verb ‘brake’ are: ‘brake, braked, braked’. Here are some examples to illustrate the difference between ‘break’ and ‘brake’:
- Be very careful while cleaning the glass dishes, or else you might break them.
- Take this as a warning: if you hurl these abuses at me ever again, I’ll break your bones.
- These walnuts are so hard that I need a hammer to break them.
- It breaks my heart to see so much of pathos in this part of the world.
- Don’t break my heart by making such a statement.
- No one can break his record in eating pastries.
- I hate to break bad news to anyone.
- Today I am taking a break from exercise.
- I often finish my grocery shopping during my office lunch break.
- She is really lucky to have got such a big break so early in her films career.
- Whenever you are stopping your vehicle, apply the brakes gradually.
- I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a fatal accident.
- I had to brake my car suddenly on seeing an old man appear unexpectedly at a short distance ahead.
- This is the right time to put a brake on your daughter’s late-night parties, or else it may be too late.
That should suffice to elucidate the difference between ‘break’ and ‘brake’.
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