Learn English phrasal verbs | Break down
Has your car ever broken down? Have you ever broken down? Find out all the meanings of break down in this video lesson to help you understand English phrasal verbs...
You will find English phrasal verbs all around you if you listen out for them. Here are a few good examples...
So how do you remember English phrasal verbs? Tell us in the comments below...
Break down is normally used for something mechanical, so if your car is not working, we say "your car has broken down", "my car has broken down". It means it's stopped working and somebody needs to fix it.
We don't usually use this for electronics, so you don't say your phone has...your mobile phone has broken down or your computer has broken down, we would just say 'it's broken'.
You could also say that a person has broken down. This means that maybe somebody has received some very bad news or very sad news and they started getting upset and crying and they can't stop and so we say that that person has broken down.
You could also 'have a breakdown', which is more serious. We sometimes call this 'a nervous breakdown', which means that somebody is suffering a mental problem and needs medical help to help them through a difficult period in their life.
You could 'break down a bill' or your financial expenses if you want to understand every item on a bill and you want to know how you spend your money, so you could get a calculator and 'break down your bill' or 'break down your financial expenses' to understand it better.
If you're trying to learn something and you don't understand it very well, let's say your teacher is trying to explain mathematics or science to you and you don't understand it, your teacher can 'break it down for you', explain it in small parts to make it easier to understand. So if somebody wants to understand something that is quite difficult to understand, they might say to you 'give me the breakdown'.