break down vs knock down

sunyaer

Senior Member
Chinese
I made up this sentence myself.

"In order to bring the chiller onto the roof, we have to knock it down and transport all the parts by the stairs."

Does this sentence with "knock down" make sense? Is "break down" an equivalent of "knock down" in this context?
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    We wouldn't say "knock it down"in AE. We'd probably say "take it apart" or "disassemble it," although "break it down" might be understood in context.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We wouldn't say "knock it down"in AE. ...
    But I've heard something like "it's better to get it knocked down and take it to the roof through the stairs". Do British use knock down to mean "disassemble"?

    There is an entry in the dictionary in which "knock down" has the meaning of "taking apart for storage or shipping".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    But I've heard something like "it's better to get it knocked down and take it to the roof through the stairs".
    I believe you. I've heard "knock something down"* with this meaning in the language of construction workers and repairmen. I agree with Florentia, however, that "break it down", or "take it apart" are more likely expressions in the U.S.

    *I've also heard "tear it down".
     
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    spilorrific

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree w/ Florentia and Owlman5....
    Another twist: When I put my trash and recycling at the curb each week, I am expected to "break down" any boxes that I am including as recyclable materials. This means I have to flatten them.
    However, I could not use "tear down" for this process.
    "Tear down" would be to raze / demolish a structure. Witness Reagan at the Berlin Wall ("Tear down this wall..."). Berlin Wall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    <-----Directions to video clip removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->
     
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    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I would be interested to know how many native speakers would use the following sense of "Knock down" on the free dictionary.com

    knock down
    1. Take apart for storage or shipping, as in We need to knock down this chest to ship it safely overseas. [Mid-1900s]

    3. To disassemble something into parts, as for storage or shipping: I knocked down the tables and put them back in the closet. The vendors knock their stalls down at the end of the day.

    Would you use "break down" in the above sentences to mean the same thing as "knock down"?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    knock down
    1. Take apart for storage or shipping, as in We need to knock down this chest to ship it safely overseas. 3. To disassemble something into parts, as for storage or shipping: I knocked down the tables and put them back in the closet. The vendors knock their stalls down at the end of the day.[Mid-1900s]
    Not in BE. I would use "take apart" in 1. and "folded up" or "took apart" in 3.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It's one of many definitions of "knock down" in the WR dictionary, and it's among those listed for both AE (American Heritage) and BE (Collins) sources. I agree with the others, both British and American, who would say "break down" or "take apart" when we want to make something easier to store or move from one location to another. I don't think it's regional; I think it's a matter of whether the person using it is in the shipping or storage or construction business. People in some occupations often use certain phrases in a way peculiar to those occupations.

    In fact, someone in my apartment building is planning to move to another city and has told me she is taking apart certain pieces of furniture so they'll be easier to pack up and move. I can't imagine her saying she's "knocking them down". (She is not originally from the same region of the country as I am.)
     
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