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Thread: breaks for electronic devices

  1. #1
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    Electronic devices stop working

    The new model of this USB programmer breaks easily. (or gets broken)
    My new USB programmer is broken (or broken down). It broke yesterday. (or got broken (down))

    Are these sentences correct when it's about an electronic device that stopped working. I think they are although I'm not sure the words between parentheses make them better.

    And I also wonder if there's any better way to express the same.

    Thanks
    Last edited by tomtombp; 4th April 2013 at 8:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    I think that 'to break down' is probably more appropriately reserved for (usually larger) machines with moving parts.

    Typically: 'my car has broken down'.

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Thanks.
    What about breaks vs. gets broken vs. anything else?

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    I'm not sure what a 'USB programmer' is, but with that caveat in mind, I suppose I could ramble on a little further.

    If you were to drop it, and for that reason it ceased to function, then it could be said to be broken - it need not have been shattered into a zillion pieces.

    If you were to exceed its design parameters in some way, say you passed too much current through it, and as a result it ceased to function, then it could be said to be broken, and you could be said to have broken it.

    ADDED: I suppose that what I'm saying is that breakage implies abuse or negligence.

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Let's talk about a transistor or a chip = electronic component. It stops working due to too much current or overheating or defected material. We don't know if it's the user's fault or not, it just stops working.

    Based on Beryl's reply it seems correct to say that "the chip is broken"

    If it happens frequently enough in a certain device, can we say:
    "That chip breaks easily" or we should say "the chip gets broken easily" or something else?

    If it happened yesterday can we say:
    "That chip broke yesterday" or we should say "the chip got broken yesterday" or something else?

    The same questions for the device that chip is part of, let's say an MP3 player.
    This MP3 player "breaks" easily or "gets broken" easily or something else?
    My MP3 player "broke" yesterday or "got broken" yesterday or something else yesterday?

    I also had "goes bad" in mind but according to other threads it is mainly used for food.

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Hello,

    I think that you are questioning a vocabulary issue about the electronic devices not working properly. This is a specialised dictionary solution. Similar verbs to 'break down' are strictly related to the cause of damage, so if you have, say, a programme malfunction, this might happen because of 'data corruption'. Similarly, you may talk of 'deterioration', 'alteration', 'degradation', 'fried', 'destroy', a.s.o.
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    There's no general word? Do I always have to describe exactly what happens: the chip easily burns out, overheats, etc. I don't think so. A chip is way more complex and an MP3 player is even so for us to be able to tell what exactly is happening in it. We still somehow want to express that it has failed and so the whole device stopped working. Maybe I found the best word while trying to explain my point. Failed?
    The chip fails easily? The chip failed? That sounds good! Please confirm this. Shouldn't it be "fails to do something?"
    What about the MP3 player?

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    No, I don't think so. My supposition about 'breaking' is that it refers to physical things and physical damage (and you were right to say 'they break easily'. The verb 'fail' is used with abstract nouns like software programmes or other abstract things that are related to this electronic technology and the way electronic devices work / function or not. (e.g. 'Failure report' when emails are not sent because of data errors). Still, 'fry' is more specific (cause is =overcharge).
    'Breaks or fries' points to a physical damage. Malfunctioning/alterating/corrupting, etc. to an unknown, abstract reason. That was the reason to mention the cause about something not working.
    Your MP3 player may break due to an overcharge or may no longer function due to an electronic disfunction.
    I wonder if you've got the idea.
    Last edited by irinet; 4th April 2013 at 11:58 PM.
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    About the chip. I would say the chip is damaged or doesn't work.
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    My I-phone/MP4/ TV-set/ washing-machine/door locker / car is broken.
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Quote Originally Posted by irinet View Post
    No, I don't think so. My supposition about 'breaking' is that it refers to physical things and physical damage (and you were right to say 'they break easily'. The verb 'fail' is used with abstract nouns like software programmes or other abstract things that are related to this electronic technology and the way electronic devices work / function or not. (e.g. 'Failure report' when emails are not sent because of data errors)
    'Breaks or fries' points to a physical damage. Malfunctioning/alterating/corrupting, etc. to an unknown, abstract reason. That was the reason to mention the cause about something not working.
    Your MP3 player may break due to an overcharge or may no longer function due to an electronic disfunction.
    I wonder if you've got the idea.
    Not 100%. My chip and MP3 players are both physical things. Does that mean they "break" when they stop working?

    I also did a little Google search and both "breaks" and "gets broken" are used in this context but both had just a few hits, with "breaks" having more. I have also heard "go bust." That also had a few hits.

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Quote Originally Posted by irinet View Post
    My I-phone/MP4/ TV-set/ washing-machine/door locker / car is broken.
    That's clear. They are already broken.
    But how can you convert it into the sentence: "This model of MP3 player easily gets broken." or "This model of MP3 player easily breaks."
    And "My MP3 player broke yesterday." or "My MP3 player got broken yesterday."

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    If it happens frequently enough in a certain device, can we say: "That chip breaks easily"
    Yes
    or we should say "the chip gets broken easily" or something else?
    No, the first one is better.
    If it happened yesterday can we say: "That chip broke yesterday"
    Yes
    or we should say "the chip got broken yesterday" or something else?
    The first one is better.
    The same questions for the device that chip is part of, let's say an MP3 player.
    This MP3 player "breaks" easily
    Yes
    or "gets broken" easily or something else?
    The first one is better.
    My MP3 player "broke" yesterday or "got broken" yesterday or something else yesterday?
    The first one is better.


    You can also say, "The chip failed yesterday" or "The chip gave up/died yesterday" (informal)
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Quote Originally Posted by irinet View Post
    About the chip. I would say the chip is damaged or doesn't work.
    Damage also seems to be a good option!
    The chip easily gets damaged.
    The chip was/got damaged yesterday.

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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    1. Yes, but 'They got/are broken.' They cease to function.
    I don't know of this. Are they informal?
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulQ View Post
    You can also say, "The chip failed yesterday" or "The chip gave up/died yesterday" (informal)
    We already covered "failed", but "died" is also a good option! Thanks.

  17. #17
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Sorry, PaulQ, I disagree with 'chip failure' without saying what's wrong about it. But I mean here the usage of specialised vocabulary only.
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  18. #18
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Thank you for your comments, PaulQ too. And irinet, for your help.

    To summarize:

    That chip breaks/dies/fails/gets damaged easily.
    The chip broke/died/failed/was damaged yesterday

    Are these all correct?

    Actually I like them all.

    As for the MP3 player should we stay with break?

    This model of MP3 player breaks easily.
    My MP3 player broke yesterday.

    Am I right or some of the verbs used for the chip can work here too?

    Thank you, sorry for being so picky, but this is something I've never been sure of, and what I need to know for my work.
    Last edited by tomtombp; 5th April 2013 at 12:31 AM.

  19. #19
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Quote Originally Posted by irinet View Post
    No, I don't think so [...] The verb 'fail' is used with abstract nouns like software programmes or other abstract things that are related to this electronic technology and the way electronic devices work / function or not. (e.g. 'Failure report' when emails are not sent because of data errors). Still, 'fry' is more specific (cause is =overcharge).
    I cannot agree with this. Concrete nouns also fail: joints (human, mechanical and welded) fail, chips fail, batteries fail, in fact anything that is capable of failing, fails.
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  20. #20
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    Re: breaks for electronic devices

    Of course, anyone could say, 'my phone's dead'. Why bother then?
    I thought the thread was dealing with jargons!! My mistake.
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