Can you please tell me if there is any differece in meaning between my fridge broke and my fridge broke down? For example:

I can't store any food in my fridge as it broke yesterday.

I can't store any food in my fridge as it broke down yesterday.

I'm aware that break down is usually used when talking about cars, but I've also heard it used when talking about home appliances. I'd like to know if there is any difference in meaning between break and break down when you are desribing a problem with your appliances.

1 Answer 1


In context, there is very little difference.

"Broke down" means an engine or mechanical failure, so is common when talking about cars and machines. "Broke" can mean "snap" or "split". You would use "broke" when talking about a bone or a pencil.

If the motor in your fridge has stopped working, you could use either. But if the door has come off its hinges you would not use "broke down".

It is quite possible to say "The fridge is broken", but you would not likely say "The fridge is broken down".

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