HOME > WordMaster® > BREAK DOWN vs. BREAK | 故障する vs. 壊れる、壊す

For Life
2005.05.17(Review of 2002.04.25 edition)

Accidents happen. Things fall apart. The best we can hope for is to have an interesting story to tell when it's all over.

Today's word pair should help!

Today's LessonCATEGORY: 混同しやすい言葉CATEGORY: イディオム
BREAK DOWN vs. BREAK   故障する vs. 壊れる、壊す


  • If a machine with a motor or engine - such as a car, an elevator, a dishwasher, or a VCR - stops running, it breaks down.

    When a machine without a motor is damaged and stops working, we say “it breaks” or “someone breaks it”. A machine is broken from the moment it breaks until the time when it is fixed.

    Be Careful[1]! Cars do NOT “break” they break down.

    Be Careful[2]! We can say, “The car broke down,” but NOT, “Someone broke down the car.”
  • break down とは、車やエレベーター、食器洗い機、ビデオデッキなど、モーターやエンジンのある機械が動かなくなる、という意味です。

    モーターのない機械や装置が故障で動かない場合は、The machine breaks.(機械は壊れる)と言います。人を主語にして Someone breaks the machine.(誰かが機械を壊す)と言うこともできます。The machine is broken.(機械は壊れている)という言い方は、機械が壊れた瞬間から直るまでの期間にあてはまります。

    注意1:Cars break down. とは言いますが、Cars break. とは言いません。

    注意2:The car broke down. とは言いますが、Someone broke down the car. とは言いません。


  1. a: The elevator is out of order.
    b: When did it break down?
  2. My car broke down again, so I've had to take the bus to work every day this week.
  3. a: You can't use that toaster oven. It 's broken.
    b: How did it break?
    a: I broke it trying to clean the heating elements.
  4. Be careful you don't break that! That's a very expensive machine.

英会話レッスンGood luck to you today!