Brake vs. Break

Brake is a device that makes a vehicle slow down or stop while break is a period of time when an activity stops. As a verb, brake means to make a vehicle slow down or stop while break means to damage or disobey.

When to Use Brake

Brake as a Noun

Brake is often plural when used to mean a piece of equipment that slows down or stops a vehicle. Some of its collocations include “hit the brakes” and “apply the brakes.”

I was so scared the brakes might fail.

The screech of brakes made us all wince.

Another meaning of brake is to make something more difficult to do or develop slowly as in the phrase “act as a brake on something.” The phrase “put the brakes on something” means stopping something that’s happening.

They wrote the tell-all book to act as a brake on the brewing scandal.

Selena wants to put the brakes on the Hailey hate train, so she reached out to her fans through her IG stories.

Brake as a Verb

Brake is also used as an intransitive verb. As a verb, it means operating or managing the brakes of a vehicle to make it slow down or stop.

She brakes slowly as an outcome.

The car was braking at the right time.

When to Use Break

Break as a Noun

Break has more than 10 meanings as a noun. One of the meanings of break is a period of time when people stop working to eat or rest.

We’ll take a short break.

Can you join me for a coffee break?

A break can also mean a longer time away from regular activities or vacation.

Cali deserves a much-needed break.

I forget the plan for the winter break.

Another meaning of break is the end of something like a relationship or a way of doing things.

Leia made the break and left her abusive boyfriend.

My mom was mad because we didn’t go home last year for Thanksgiving, which was a break with our tradition.

Break is also used in sports like tennis and billiards.

Start praying that your player gets another break of serve to win this game.

The fans couldn’t believe the amazing fast break.

A hole or space in something is called a break.

Is there a break in the fence?

It’s lovely to see that break in the clouds where the moon is shining brightly.

An interruption can be called a break. It’s a period of time when something stops before it starts again.

Let’s just hope for a break in the rain.

They’re not sure if they can come inside when there’s a break in the performance.

In a literary sense, “the break of day” means in the morning when the sun rises. It’s similar to daybreak.

No one wants to leave at break of day.

Everyone was waiting for the break of day.

A chance or opportunity to improve one’s situation especially in an unexpected way can be called a lucky break.

Aspiring artists are waiting for their first break.

All I want is to get my big break.

Escaping from a place can be phrased as “make a break for/from something.” It means to run suddenly toward something and is often by force.

A couple of prisoners made a break for it as soon as the chaos started.

Women want to make a break from the oppressive regime.

The place where something is broken or damaged is a break.

Stella had a break in her arm when she was a baby.

Call someone to fix the break in the wall.

Break as a Verb

The verbbreak has many uses too. Separating something into two or more pieces is one meaning of break.

I always break my bread in half.

He will cry if you don’t break the cookies into tiny pieces.

Damaging bones so that they crack or separate into pieces is another meaning of break.

Elderly people break their hips easily.

The basketball player had a bad fall and broke his knees.

Not following the law or promises means breaking them.

A lot of politicians break many rules.

Never break your word again. 

Making something known means to break it to the public.

I can’t break the news to my family and friends.

He was fired from work after he broke the shocking story.

Destroying or putting an end to something is breaking it.

That competition is breaking my daughter’s spirit.

Our students broke the code.

Break is used to mean the end of a relationship.

The government has broken all links with the private company.

Your father and I broke up a long time ago.

When it comes to voice, break either means a boy’s voice is changing to start sounding like a man’s voice or someone’s voice changes due to strong emotions.

When my son’s voice broke,he stopped singing.

The audience started crying when the singer’s voice broke.

The phrasal verb “break down” means something isn’t working or dividing something.

My tutor breaks downthe math lessons for me.

He broke down and couldn’t be consoled.

Break into something is a phrasal verb that has several meanings like being involved in a new job and starting to spend money despite not wanting to.

Elsa and Anna always break into a song.

Thieves broke into the bank.

It’s called a break when something causes an interruption.

Listening to music breaks my concentration.

They won’t stop working until they break for lunch.

Brake vs. Break: What’s the Difference?

The break that ends in “k”has more uses than the brake that ends in “e”. Break has a fuller range of meaning, from something damaged to expressing happiness, while brake only connotes slowing down or stopping.


Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Brake. In Retrieved from

Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Break. In Retrieved from

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Brake. In Retrieved from 

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Break. In Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Brake. In dictionary. Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Break. In dictionary. Retrieved from