Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Welcome to twominenglish.com. Teaching you English through two-minute lessons. In this lesson, let's learn about the meaning and use of the phrasal verb ‘break down'. Let's discuss the phrasal verb ‘break down' today. I know a bit about it. 'Break down' means crying. You're right. When one is unable to control his emotions he or she may break down in tears. However, ‘break down' can also mean a damage in a machine or a car when it stops working. Funny you've mentioned it. My car broke down earlier today! Ouch! Sorry about that, Nina. But ‘break down' also means to resolve something, ending a long dispute. For example: ‘Finally the case broke down when Henry agreed to compensate'. Yes, ‘break down' means solving a task. This phrasal verb also means an in-depth analysis of something, breaking something else into parts. Exactly! A complex problem may be solved by breaking it down to a number of smaller steps or parts. Absolutely! It means to divide into smaller parts or to separate. But it also means to force someone to give up, to tell a secret or make make someone agree to do something. Yeah! Like breaking up a terrorist group! That's breaking down something. Now, breaking down something also means to destroy or ruin it. So many possibilities! We should listen to some conversations with examples now. Great idea! Ron, why don't you service your car? I will do it in the evening. It might break down any moment now. Yeah, I know. My dad finally broke down and gave me some money to get it fixed. Good for you! Ron, can you look at this math problem? Hmmm...linear algebra. It's always better to break down such problems into smaller steps. Wow! You've always been so good in solving problems! I wish I could be so quick with real life problems too. They break me down all the time. Don't worry, Ron. These family matters are just a temporary bother. Why so gloomy today, Candice? Nothing much, I had to lock horns with my brother. What happened? He broke down the dog house. Then? Then what? He ruined it, so I broke down crying. Sorry to hear it! That's fine. He promised to build a new one today. My car broke down earlier today! It might break down any moment now. It's always better to break down such problems into smaller steps. He broke down the dog house. so I broke down crying.