Break vs. Brake

Break vs. Brake

Words that sound exactly the same in the English language are called homophones. These words may sound the same, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. Break and brake are examples of homophones. Let’s look at what these two words mean so that you will be sure to use the correct one in your writing.

Break can function as a verb or a noun, and it has several meanings. As a verb, break can mean to separate into parts or to interrupt something.

1. I am sorry; I did not mean to break your new toy.

2. Can you break the cookies into halves so that we can all have some?

3. When you started tapping your pencil, my concentration was broken.

4. There was a break in the conversation when the teacher held up her hand.

As a noun, break means an interruption or a pause.

1. Can we take a break from swimming to eat lunch?

2. We have been playing basketball without a break for three hours!

The word brake can also function as a noun or a verb. In both cases, brake has to do with a vehicle. As a noun, brake refers to the part of a vehicle that causes it to slow down. As a verb, brake is the act of slowing the vehicle.

1. I think I need new brakes on this car.

2. Can’t you hear that your brakes are squeaking?

3. Mom had to brake suddenly when the little girl rode her bike in front of our car.

In summary, break has to do with separating an item or an interruption or pause. Brake refers specifically to the part that slows a vehicle or the act of slowing a vehicle.

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