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"Break off" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "partir", and "break up" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "separarse". Learn more about the difference between "break off" and "break up" below.
break off(
breyk
 
af
)
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 snap)
a. partir
The man broke off the handle of the shovel and began brandishing it as a weapon.El hombre partió el mango de la pala y empezó a blandirla como un arma.
2. (to end)
a. romper
The diplomat broke off all negotiations and fled the country.La diplomática rompió todas las negociaciones y huyó del país.
b. terminar
I'm glad Hugh broke off his twisted relationship with Erin.Me alegra que Hugh haya terminado su relación tortuosa con Erin.
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
3. (to become separated)
a. desprenderse
The cover to the record player broke off when I opened it.La tapa del tocadiscos se desprendió cuando lo abrí.
4. (to stop)
a. interrumpirse (while speaking)
The teacher suddenly broke off and gave the two boys at the back of the class a dirty look.El maestro se interrumpió de repente y les lanzó una mirada fea a los dos chicos al fondo del aula.
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break up(
breyk
 
uhp
)
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 dissolve a relationship)
a. separarse
Breaking up is never easy, whether in romance or business.Separarse nunca es sencillo, ya sea en el amor o en los negocios.
2. (to split up; often used with "with")
a. romper
He didn't eat for weeks after he broke up with his girlfriend.No comió por semanas después de romper con su novia.
b. terminar
He was so cowardly that he used a text message to break up with his girlfriend.Fue tan cobarde que usó un mensaje de texto para terminar con su novia.
c. cortar
Do you know why they broke up?¿Sabes por qué cortaron?
3. (to disintegrate)
a. desintegrarse
The heavy rains caused the rocks in the quarry to break up into sediment.Las fuertes lluvias hicieron que las piedras de la cantera se desintegraran hasta convertirse en sedimento.
b. deshacerse
If you add some water to the gravy and whisk vigorously, the lumps will break up.Si añades un poco de agua al jugo de carne y bates enérgicamente, los grumos se desharán.
4. (education) (United Kingdom)
a. terminar
After our final exams, school will break up.Después de nuestros exámenes finales, la escuela terminará.
b. empezar las vacaciones
Do you break up this week or next week?¿Empiezas las vacaciones esta semana o la semana que viene?
5. (to laugh uncontrollably)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
a. reírse a carcajadas
This comedian is great. He gets the crowd to break up every time.Este comediante es excelente. Hace que el público se ría a carcajadas.
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
6. (to cause to separate)
a. dispersar
The police officers broke up the crowd that had gathered in the business district.Los policías dispersaron a la muchedumbre que se había reunido en el distrito comercial.
b. poner fin a
The two teachers broke up the fight in the hallway.Los dos maestros pusieron fin a la pelea que había en el pasillo.
c. desarticular
The primary aim of our police force has been to break up the street gangs that terrorize our city.El objetivo principal de nuestro cuerpo de policía es desarticular las bandas callejeras que aterrorizan nuestra ciudad.
d. dividir
Don't listen to their rumors. They just want to break up our group.No hagas caso a sus rumores. Solo quieren dividir a nuestro grupo.
7. (to separate into pieces)
a. desguazar
The crew broke up the ships to salvage metal that the airplane factory could use.La tripulación desguazó los barcos para reciclar el metal que la fábrica de aviones podría usar.
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