burst/break into

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Senior Member
The house burst into flame(s).
Definition of BURST INTO

Can I replace burst with broke? “The house broke into flame(s).”
Is there any difference between the original sentence and the one rewritten?
Thank you!
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You can but "broke into flame(s)” is a lot less common than "burst into flame(s).”
    "Broke into flame(s)” is usually used where something has been smouldering for a while.
    "Burst into flames" is usually used where flames sudden;y and dramatically appear.

    NB: "Usually" does not mean "always."


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I never cease to be amazed at how many examples Google throws up of expressions I’ve never heard anyone use…

    To burst into flames is an idiom, and it appears as such in all the major dictionaries. The same does not apply to “break into flames”. In fact, on my planet your burst into flames and only break into song, or a bank! :D


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The phrase "break into" is usually used when people enter a building or some other place by force or without permission:

    "The burglar broke into the house and stole some valuable paintings." (Entry without permission.)
    "I didn't have my key, so I had to break in." (Entry by force.)
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