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"Break down" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "estropearse", and "build up" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "desarrollar". Learn more about the difference between "break down" and "build up" below.
break down(
breyk
 
daun
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to stop functioning)
a. estropearse
The hot water heater broke down last night while I was in the shower.Anoche, se estropeó la caldera mientras estaba en la ducha.
b. averiarse
My car broke down in the middle of nowhere, so I had to hitchhike.Se averió el auto en el medio de la nada, así que tuve que hacer dedo.
c. descomponerse
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
The car broke down because the radiator overheated.El carro se descompuso porque el radiador se recalentó.
2. (to succumb to emotional stress)
a. derrumbarse
After working sleeplessly for weeks, he broke down and started screaming at his boss.Después de trabajar sin dormir durante semanas, se derrumbó y empezó a gritarle a su jefe.
b. echarse a llorar
When he realized she had gone for good, he broke down.Cuando se dio cuenta de que ella se había ido para siempre, se echó a llorar.
c. romper a llorar
I can't watch "Bambi" without breaking down.No puedo ver "Bambi" sin romper a llorar.
3. (to fail)
a. fracasar (negotiations)
Talks between the two countries broke down after the attack.Las negociaciones entre los dos países fracasaron tras el atentado.
4. (to divide into constituents)
a. descomponerse
As citric acid breaks down, what substance is released?¿Qué sustancia se libera al descomponerse el ácido cítrico?
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
5. (to destroy)
a. derribar
The detective obtained a warrant and went to break down the door of the suspect.El detective obtuvo una orden de detención y se dirigió a derribar la puerta del sospechoso.
b. echar abajo
They began to break down the Berlin Wall in 1990.Empezaron a echar abajo el Muro de Berlín en 1990.
6. (to separate)
a. dividir
It's easier if we break the work down into stages.Es más fácil si dividimos el trabajo en etapas.
7.
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
(figurative)
(to overcome)
a. vencer (resistance)
How can we break down people's resistance to change?¿Cómo podemos vencer la resistencia de la gente al cambio?
8. (to analyze)
a. desglosar (figures)
I can break down the charges on your bill so it's easier to understand.Puedo desglosar los cargos de la factura para que sea más fácil de entender.
b. descomponer
It can be difficult to break down a complicated sentence.Puede ser difícil descomponer una oración complicada.
9. (to decompose)
a. descomponer
In a hydrolysis reaction, water is used to break down a molecule.En una reacción de hidrólisis, se emplea agua para descomponer una molécula.
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build up(
bihld
 
uhp
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to develop)
a. desarrollar
Niall is taking boxing classes to build up his biceps.Niall está tomando clases de box para desarrollar sus bíceps.
b. forjarse
Angela spent five years building up her reputation as councillor before she ran for mayor.Ángela estuvo cinco años forjándose una reputación como concejal antes de postularse para alcaldesa.
c. tomar
The rocket built up speed as it escaped the Earth's atmosphere.El cohete tomó velocidad mientras abandonaba la atmósfera de la Tierra.
d. hacerse
Dan built up his hopes only to have them crushed when he found out she was married.Dan se hizo ilusiones y se le vinieron abajo cuando se enteró de que estaba casada.
2. (to make stronger)
a. ganar
If you want to take up running, you need to build up stamina gradually.Si quieres empezar a correr, tienes que ganar resistencia en forma gradual.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
It takes time to build up strength after you've had the flu.Recuperar la fuerza lleva tiempo después de una gripe.
Running every morning and swimming every afternoon is helping her to build up her strength.Correr cada mañana y nadar cada tarde la está ayudando a fortalecerse.
3. (to accumulate)
a. juntar
Alyssa saves 15% of every paycheck to build up money for retirement.Alyssa ahorra 15% de cada sueldo para juntar dinero para la jubilación.
b. acumular
Joyce started to build up debts when she lost her job.Joyce empezó a acumular deudas cuando se quedó sin trabajo.
4. (to make)
a. levantar
Rafael built up his insurance business on his own.Rafael levantó solo su negocio de seguros.
b. crear
The designer is building up a network of stores worldwide.La diseñadora está creando una red de tiendas en todo el mundo.
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
5. (to accumulate)
a. acumularse
Thanks to the construction project next door, the dust builds up really quickly around here.Debido a la obra en construcción de al lado, el polvo se acumula muy rápido por aquí.
6. (to increase)
a. aumentar
The pressure built up until the boiler finally burst.La presión aumentó hasta que la caldera finalmente estalló.
b. acumularse
Our credit card debt built up when my husband was unemployed.Las deudas con las tarjetas de crédito se nos fueron acumulando cuando mi marido estaba desempleado.
c. intensificarse
The traffic is building up because many streets are blocked.El tránsito se está intensificando porque hay muchas calles cerradas.
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