What is the difference in the meaning of the following sentences:

"I found the map, but one of its corners had been torn away."

"I found the map, but one of its corners had been torn off."

"I found the map, but one of its corners had been torn down."

"I found the map, but one of its corners had been torn apart."

Does "torn away" means that the corner of the page was torn apart/down and then it was lost?

I just searched few articles where different prepositions related to tearing of page were mentioned, which I covered in the above questions. I also searched these phrasal verbs in the standard dictionaries such as Oxford and Cambridge, but I didn't find any specific example.

  • I updated my question with my research. Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


The last two examples would not be used to describe the corner of a page.

The first two, torn off, and torn away, are more or less synonymous. Essentially, they mean the same thing - to be literally torn/ripped from something.

Torn down refers to something being demolished, like a structure for example.

e.g. The building was torn down.

Torn apart refers to two or more things being torn from each other. It's often used figuratively to mean being separated from someone you care about.

e.g. When she left for Australia, he felt as if they had been torn apart.

It can also be used literally

e.g. The pages of the book had been torn apart.

  1. Torn away - mostly means that something/someone was extracted/removed from something/somewhere (isn't a part anymore). In some cases it carries the same meaning as "tear off".

    • The people were torn away from their homes during the war.
    • They had torn away his identity.
  2. Torn off - mostly means that something was separate or caused to be separate abruptly/ripped.

    • The man's head was torn off and lay separate from the body.
    • A piece of the label was torn off.
  3. Torn down - mostly means that something was dismantled, broken down, disintegrated, or disassembling entirely. (mostly about buildings or structures)

    • The old building was torn down because it was posing a threat to its residents.
    • The engine of the car was torn down and later reassembled.
  4. Torn apart - mostly means that something was completely destroyed by tearing it into pieces or damaged (also massively or a lot). Also idiomatic when speaking about relationship and feelings.

    • The place was torn apart - somebody had been looking for something.
    • One of the pipes was torn apart as if a bomb exploded inside.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .