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You are instructing a child to divide an A4 paper into 2 equal pieces as the above picture.

Is it correct to say

"fold the paper longways in half" (I don't want to fold it sideways)

"then rip it apart in half along the folded line" or "then rip it straight in half along the folded line"

"don't rip it apart from the folded line" (if I don't rip it along the folded line, then I might end up having 2 pieces that are not equal and stright)

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    Fold the paper in half longways. Tear along the folded line. (Rip sounds more violent and uncontrolled.) Be careful not to let the paper tear away from the line (or ) ...in any other place. May 16, 2021 at 7:23

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You should use "tear" not "rip". Your expressions are unconversational and don't sound like a parent talking to a child, but not actually incorrect.

If you are making a video to show the child you might say:

Fold the paper in half lengthways, then carefully tear along the fold.

The word "carefully" includes a lot that the child can infer.

In fact, you probably add a lot more words because you would be showing the child, and the child would be responding to you and speaking back. You would be answering her questions. So there would naturally be a lot of "chat".

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  • I like "tear along the fold." because there 1 example in the dictionary "Bend back the card and cut along the fold.". But what is the opposite movement of "tear along the fold", for example, "**tear away from the fold"?
    – Tom
    May 16, 2021 at 10:26
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    Yes "away from the fold". It's not wrong to say "don't tear away from the fold". But I think that "carefully" would cover that. Saying "carefully tear along the fold" implies "not away from".
    – James K
    May 16, 2021 at 11:12

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