Quick answer
"Fall apart" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "deshacerse", and "shatter" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "hacer añicos". Learn more about the difference between "fall apart" and "shatter" below.
fall apart
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 break into pieces)
a. deshacerse
The book was so old that it fell apart in my hands.El libro era tan viejo que se deshizo en mis manos.
The sandcastle the kids made is falling apart.El castillo de arena que hicieron los niños se está deshaciendo.
b. caerse a pedazos
Buy yourself some new boots. Those are about to fall apart.Cómprate unas botas nuevas. Esas se van a caer a pedazos.
2. (to become ineffective)
a. desmoronarse
There were so many divisions within the party that it was falling apart.Había tantas divisiones dentro del partido que este se estaba desmoronando.
b. fracasar
The couple's marriage fell apart because they were totally unsuited to each other.El matrimonio de la pareja fracasó porque eran totalmente incompatibles.
c. venirse abajo
The project fell apart due to lack of funds.El proyecto se vino abajo debido a la falta de fondos.
3. (to become emotionally undone)
a. derrumbarse
Losing his job was the last straw, and he fell apart.Cuando perdió su trabajo, esa fue la gota que colmó el vaso, y se derrumbó.
b. desmoronarse
Don fell apart when Janice left him.Don se desmoronó cuando Janice lo dejó.
c. venirse abajo
Don't fall apart now that you've come so far.No te vengas abajo ahora que ya has recorrido tanto camino.
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to break)
a. hacer añicos
We were playing catch, and Juan accidentally shattered our neighbor's window.Estábamos jugando a la pelota, y por accidente Juan hizo añicos la ventana de nuestro vecino.
b. hacer pedazos
The man got out of his car, angrily picked up a rock, and shattered my windshield.El hombre bajó de su carro, recogió una piedra furiosamente e hizo pedazos mi parabrisas.
2. (to destroy)
a. destrozar
Philip's recent illness absolutely shattered his immune system.La enfermedad reciente de Philip le destrozó el sistema inmunológico.
b. destruir
Jimmy's illusions were shattered when he realized that Santa Claus didn't exist.Las ilusiones de Jimmy fueron destruidas cuando se enteró que Papá Noel no existía.
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
(to break)
a. romper
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
The early morning silence was shattered by a gun shot.Un disparo rompió el silencio de la madrugada.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(to exhaust) (United Kingdom)
a. dejar hecho polvo
Running eight miles uphill really shattered me this morning.Correr ocho millas cuesta arriba realmente me dejó hecho polvo esta mañana.
b. agotar
Hot yoga can really shatter you if you're not used to it.El yoga caliente te puede agotar si no estás acostumbrado.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
5. (to break into small pieces)
a. hacerse añicos
A window of the auditorium shattered when the soprano hit the high note.Una ventana del auditorio se hizo añicos cuando la soprano llegó a la nota alta.
b. hacerse pedazos
The Bohemian crystal goblet shattered when it hit the floor.La copa de cristal de Bohemia se hizo pedazos cuando chocó contra el suelo.
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