break one's knee

Angelya

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, there! If I say Mike broke his knee, I think I mean Mike broke or fractured his bone in his knee rather than just broke the skin on the knee. Am I right? When doing translation today, I saw someone had translated the latter situation (break the skin on the knee) as "break your knee", which I think totally different. Needless to say, "break your knee" is much more severe. And how will you describe this kind of injury? And is "break the skin on his knee" acceptable? Would you please share your answer with me?
 
  • User With No Name

    Senior Member
    n/a
    I think you are exactly right.

    "Break the skin on his knee" is possible. More natural alternatives, depending on the exact nature of the injury, might be "scraped" or "cut."

    "To break the skin" is usually used not for the initial mention of the injury, but rather to indicate whether the skin was penetrated: The cat bit John, but it didn't break the skin.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    If I say Mike broke his knee, I think I mean Mike broke or fractured his bone in his knee rather than just broke the skin on the knee. Am I right?
    Yes.
    And how will you describe this kind of injury? And is "break the skin on his knee" acceptable?
    It depends on the nature of the injury and how serious it is.
    He's grazed his knee. (The sort of injury many children suffer when falling while playing.)
    He has a cut on his knee.
    He's injured his knee.


    "Break the skin on his knee" is unlikely.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Hi, there! If I say Mike broke his knee,
    If you said that, people would wonder what you meant. (There are three bones in the knee - you break your leg [at the knee], or you break the kneecap.)
    someone had translated the latter situation (break the skin on the knee) as "break your knee", which I think totally different.
    It is, you are correct.
     
    Last edited:

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    n/a
    If you said that, people would wonder what you meant. (There are three bones in the knee you break your leg or you break the kneecap.)
    I don't think "to break one's knee" sounds so bad. After all, we talk about breaking an arm or leg, and from what little I remember from high school biology, there are several bones in each.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with PaulQ. In BE it would be extraordinary to hear anybody talk of a "broken knee". A little curious, since broken hip, ankle, elbow and wrist are all common - but not broken shoulder.
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    n/a
    In BE it would be extraordinary to hear anybody talk of a "broken knee". A little curious, since broken hip, ankle, elbow and wrist are all common - but not broken shoulder.
    Upon further consideration, you're probably right for U.S. English too. Maybe one of my compatriots could express an opinion.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I googled "He broke his knee" and got 22 pages of results. Most of them appear to be American sites with a few from the UK.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I googled "He broke his knee" and got 22 pages of results. Most of them appear to be American sites with a few from the UK.
    I only see 8 pages. Note that seaching "He broke his knee" also finds "He broke his knee-cap".
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Upon further consideration, you're probably right for U.S. English too. Maybe one of my compatriots could express an opinion.
    Nobody would say "he broke his knee". They'd say "kneecap" or "patella". (It's one of the few bones whose formal name is pretty widely know and used.)
     
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