Brake vs. break

Brake 可當名詞和動詞用,前者意為1.「(車輛的) 制動器,煞車」2.「抑制;阻礙」。Brake 的名詞第 1 義通常用複數,如 The brakes failed and the car crashed into the median strip/the central reservation. (煞車失靈,車子撞上安全島);I heard a screech/squeal of brakes as the taxi pulled up. (計程車停下來時我聽到一聲尖銳刺耳的煞車聲);We heard the brakes screeching/squealing and then a loud crash. (我們聽到一陣尖銳刺耳的煞車聲,然後是一聲巨大的撞擊聲);Mr. Huang saw a girl run out, so he hit the brakes/he slammed on the brakes. (黃先生看見一名女孩跑了出來,所以就緊急煞車)。Brake 的名詞第 2 義通常用單數,其後往往接介系詞 on 再接受詞,如 The government decided to put a brake on price rises. (政府決定控制物價上漲);The high level of debt acted as a brake on economic recovery. (高額的負債阻礙了經濟復甦)。

Brake 當動詞用時意為「煞 (車)」,如 The truck driver braked hard/sharply but couldn’t avoid hitting the car in front. (卡車司機緊急煞車,但還是撞上前面的汽車);He couldn’t brake the car to a halt/stop and the car crashed into a tree. (他無法煞住車而撞到一棵樹)。這個動詞的時態變化為 brake braked braked braking brakes。

Break 是個相當常用的字,亦可當名詞和動詞用,但它們加起來的意思少說也有五十個之多,若要詳細說明並非易事,而且需要極大的篇幅。在此僅舉數例供大家參考,若要細究,最好詳查字典,否則難以克竟全功。不過,值得一提的,break 是個不規則動詞,其時態變化為 break broke broken breaking breaks。Break 當動詞用的例句:He broke the window with a stone. (他投石砸窗);She fell down and broke her leg. (她跌斷了腿);The worker has broken several rules. (這名勞工已違反幾項規定)。Break 當名詞用的例句:There is a ten-minute break between the classes. (課間有十分鐘的休息時間);Give me a break! (少來了!/饒了我吧!);Give me a break and I’ll succeed. (給我一個機會,我會成功的)。

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