If I search “burst fetters” in Google there are only historical texts in results. So, can I say “Maybe, one bright day humanity will burst fetters of violence and cruelty” if I don’t mean anything related to the slavery but want to say “to get free, to get rid of”?


Try this

"...humanity will burst its fetters"


  • Thanks for the advice! Does other part of my sentence sound correctly?
    – Aer
    Nov 22 '17 at 23:20
  • Yes. Although I would either delete the comma after "maybe" or add a second comma after "bright day". I would favor deleting it.
    – DLCross
    Nov 22 '17 at 23:31
  • hm, could you please explain why this comma should be deleted? (I’m not really good at English punctuation 🙂)
    – Aer
    Nov 22 '17 at 23:33
  • I agree with deleting the first comma and adding the second one after "day" and before "humanity. I also agree with "burst its fetters." It makes no sense when it says "burst fetters of violence." I looked up the word "fetters" to see whether there was a definition I didn't know that Aer was trying to use. There is none, however.
    – Nick
    Nov 22 '17 at 23:35
  • 1
    Commas are notoriously tricky in English. There aren't a lot of consistent rules. However, after taking a fresh look at the sentence, I see the problem. My initial advice was wrong. The dependent clause is "Maybe one bright day". The comma should therefore be after "bright day", not after "maybe".
    – DLCross
    Nov 22 '17 at 23:36

Grammatically the answer "burst its fetters" or "burst the fetters" is fine, but at least to me, as a metaphor it does not quite flow.

Fetters are bonds or chains, like manacles or a ball and chain, something that prevents free movement. It doesn't quite sound right to say these are made of violence and cruelty. I feel it's slightly more logical to say instead:

break free of their fetters forged from violence and cruelty

However, I'm not sure this is really an English argument, as I think the metaphor would not be quite right in many languages. Systemic violence is used to create bonds, but it is not itself the binding material.


We can also "burst free from" something.

The prisoners burst free from the prison.

One day, humanity will burst free from ...

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