She started running across the room when suddenly her sock caught on a nail in the floor. The sock stretched/extended... and snapped/burst/broke, sending her hard to the floor.

Which of the verbs would work here?

1 Answer 1


For the first part, stretched sounds much more natural. Extended is slightly more formal, and often refers to things that are projected outwards, like "He extended his hand" or "the peninsula extended west."

For the second part, none of those sound very idiomatic to this US English speaker.

Snapped sounds like something that happens to a rubber band or a stick, something that breaks in half.

Burst sounds like something that happens to a balloon or an overloaded bag, something that explodes outwards.

Broke is more general, but is usually applied to hard things, not soft things like a sock.

I would use tore:

1a : to separate parts of or pull apart by force
4 : to make (a hole or opening) by or as if by pulling apart by force
1 : to separate on being pulled : rend

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