For the verb "break", many dictionaries have example usage sentences like:

  1. He broke the law.
  2. He broke the agreement.

Could the usage of "break" be expanded to "diet" and "quarantine" (MERS related):

  1. He broke his diet.
  2. He broke the quarantine.

Are 3 & 4 standard English?


Yes, I don't see anything wrong with either of those sentences.

In number 3, broke is being used in terms of "he broke [the rules or the pattern of] his diet." In number 4, broke is being used in terms of "he broke the [conditions of the] quarantine." This Newsweek article uses the 4th sentence.

From Newsweek:

"NBC’s Nancy Snyderman Breaks Ebola Quarantine, Apologizes"

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  • 1
    Agreed. But in AmE we usually say someone "went off" their diet, which is a bit milder, allowing for the possibility they might resume after a short lapse, in which case the diet would not be considered "broken". – Brian Hitchcock Jun 17 '15 at 7:56

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