In my language for both cases below there is only one single verb! I have no idea which word works more appropriately in this sense and if they all work here, then how shall I distinguish these verbs from one another in order to use them more properly:

  • Don't let your kid / dog (separate / break away) from you.
  • We (separated from each other / broke away from each other) at 4 o'clock and I've not heard from him ever since.

For me, both "break away" and "separate" work, and the only difference between them is that separate is a bit more formal.

  • 3
    Neither of your first two suggestions are idiomatic for the context. Common alternatives include Don't let your kid wander off / become separated from you. For the second, separated (or parted) is fine, but we wouldn't normally explicitly specify the contextually obvious from each other. Note that from you is equally "obvious" and unnecessary in the first example, so again it would often be omitted. Apr 12, 2019 at 16:40
  • Thank you @FumbleFingers! Are these parts considered to be redundant or superfluous? I mean the must be omitted or that's just a matter of style and someone can let them remain as they are?
    – A-friend
    Apr 13, 2019 at 0:07
  • I think noticeably pointless is probably better than redundant or superfluous. It's a minor point, but it wouldn't normally be included (which is why it's noticeable). And since your audience / readers would probably have already noted other signs that you're not a native Anglophone, I think they might be more inclined to see it as evidence of lower competence in idiomatic usage, rather than just meaningless extra verbiage (which obviously native speakers do come out with themselves in many contexts). Apr 13, 2019 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


We parted ways at 4 o'clock.

Don't let your kid wander away from you.

  • Thank you @kaique. Just regarding my first example, comparing "wander off", "wander away" and "become separated" do you think that they all sound natural and idiomatic, but "wander away" works the best? Also in my secind examole between "separated", "parted" and "parted ways" do you think that "parted ways" is the most common way to express the same thing?
    – A-friend
    Apr 13, 2019 at 0:14
  • 1
    Wander off, wander away are very common, I wouldn't say "don't let your child become separated from you" that's something you'd only see that on a warning sign or something. Separated and parted isn't idiomatic, I would just say "We parted ways".
    – Kaique
    Apr 13, 2019 at 0:24

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