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What is the Past tense of Break?

The past tense of “break” is “broke,” and the past participle is “broken.”

past tense of break

What is the past tense of “break”?

Break (verb):

(1) To cause something to separate into pieces, usually suddenly or violently.(2) To interrupt or halt a process or period.

Infinitive: to break Simple Past: broke Past Participle: broken

Conjugation Table for “Break”

Example Sentences

(1) To cause something to separate into pieces, usually suddenly or violently.

  • I dropped the vase, and it broke.
  • The kids broke the window while playing cricket.
  • She accidentally broke her glasses and couldn’t see clearly.

(2) To interrupt or halt a process or period.

  • We decided to break our journey and stay overnight in a small town.
  • He took a moment to break his concentration and rest his eyes.
  • We usually break for lunch at 1 PM.
What is the past tense of “break”?

Focus: Past Tense of Break

“Break” is a word we often encounter, which is why English learners should familiarize themselves with its various past tense forms.

Simple Past

  • I broke my phone’s screen last night.
  • The news broke, causing widespread panic.
  • We broke our previous record at the event.

Present Perfect

  • The vase has broken into many pieces.
  • She has broken her previous records in athletics.
  • The storm has broken several power lines.

Past Continuous

  • The ice was breaking beneath their feet.
  • The dawn was breaking, revealing a beautiful horizon.
  • The students were breaking into groups for the project.

Past Perfect

  • Before the mechanic arrived, I had already broken the engine.
  • They had broken all communication before arriving at the decision.
  • She had broken many barriers before becoming the CEO.

Understanding the Verb “Break”

The verb “break” has its roots in Old English “brecan”, which means “to break, shatter, burst.” It conveys both physical and metaphorical damage or interruption.

Phrasal Verbs with “Break”

  • Break up: To end a relationship or to disperse.
  • Example: “After five years, they decided to break up.”
  • Break in: To enter a place forcibly.
  • Example: “Burglars broke in last night.”
  • Break down: To stop functioning or to become emotionally upset.
  • Example: “The car broke down in the middle of the highway.”

Nuances in Usage

Break vs. Shatter: While “break” implies causing something to separate into parts, “shatter” suggests breaking into many tiny pieces.

Break + Time Phrases: Commonly used with time-related phrases.

Example: “Let’s break for ten minutes.”

Common Mistakes

  • Incorrect: I break my favorite mug last week.
  • Correct: I broke my favorite mug last week.
  • Incorrect: The window has been break.
  • Correct: The window has been broken.
  • Incorrect: We breaked for lunch.
  • Correct: We broke for lunch.

In Summary

The verb “break” is abundant in English, encapsulating both literal and figurative nuances. Using “break” correctly across different contexts underlines a sophisticated understanding of English.

We also have a full list of irregular verbs from A – Z on the site which you can access from the link here.

You can check other past tense words and our past tense resources by clicking on the links in the table below and in the resource list below that.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

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We also have articles and worksheets which we will link examples of below, and if you need more you can try the search box.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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