Breakdown vs. Break down

In this lesson, we're going to talk about the differences and similarities between these words. Well, I'm here to tell you everything about them.

"Breakdown" vs. "Break down" in English

What Is Their Main Difference?

Both indicate not functioning properly. However, 'breakdown' is a noun and it refers to the failure, while, 'break down' is a phrasal verb that shows the action.

Differences

'Breakdown' is a noun and it refers to the failed result, whereas, 'break down' is a phrasal verb that shows the action of not working properly. Check out below:

How many mental breakdowns have you had so far?

The train broke down in the middle of nowhere.

Similarities

Both refer to not being able to function properly. Check out the examples below:

The only thing than can freshen me up after a mental breakdown is an Alfredo pasta.

I was busy repairing the car. It suddenly broke down.

Are They Interchangeable?

Since they have differnt grammatically functions, they cannot be used instead of one another. 'Break down' is a phrasal verb, whereas, 'breakdown' is a noun. Compare:

✓ Almost everyone has experienced a mental breakdown at least once in their lifetime.

X Almost everyone has experienced a mental break down at least once in their lifetime.

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