Elaine

Break vs Brake – Pick The Correct Word

What happens when two words sound the same and have meanings that are somewhat related? Well, it can get extra confusing! Homophones are tricky enough as they are. But they’re not impossible to tackle, even if they’re related beyond their pronunciation. Break vs brake is no exception to this. Learn the trick to mastering the break vs brake confusion, so you’ll never find yourself interchanging these two words again. But first, let’s take a look at what each word means and when to use it.

Break

As a noun, break could refer to an interruption, or it could mean a crack caused by pressure. But break could also act as a verb. When used as a verb, it could mean to destroy something, or to a lesser degree, separate something into parts. The past tense of break is broke, and when turned into an adjective, break becomes broken.

Examples

  • Some residents were asked to evacuate their homes because the recent earthquake had caused a break in the dam, making the area unsafe.
  • My friends had warned me to be careful because they had a feeling he would only break my heart, but I didn’t listen to them and still fell for him.
  • Ross tried to defend what he did to Rachel by saying that they were on a break when it happened.
  • Because of the rush of adrenaline caused by the fire, he was able to break the door down and saved everyone in the room.
  • After ranking high on her exam, Irah decided to take a short break before she started looking for a job.

Brake

A brake is often associated with vehicles. As a noun, it is the part of the car that interrupts motion and ultimately leads the car to a stop. It can also be used as a verb to refer to the action of using said device.

Examples

  • Everyone in the van plunged forward a little because the driver had hit the brakes abruptly.
  • It should be common sense for anyone on the road to brake for animals.
  • I had to take my car to the shop because the brake lights wouldn’t turn off even when you take the key out of the ignition.
  • In their hurry, some drivers would forget to remove the parking brake before driving off.
  • While I was driving, a child had suddenly run onto the road to chase after their balloon, but thankfully I was able to brake just in time.

Break vs Brake

Since both words have to do with an interruption, it’s not unlikely to still interchange these words despite knowing their meanings. To better remember which is which, let’s use this little rhyme that helps associate each word to its definition.

If E and A are stuck together, it could mean either rest or shatter. But if A comes after R, it’s the thing that stops a car.

With this easy trick, you’ll no longer be mixing this pair of homophones up. So when it comes to break vs brake, don’t break down if you get confused. Hit the brakes on that train of thought and just remember the rhyme to help get you by.



Elaine

Elaine