Butt(jump, break) in

Discussion in 'English Only' started by semmi, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. semmi Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    Hi guys, could you help me with knowing the exact difference between these phrasal verbs butt, jump, break in the conversation. Which, I suspect, pretty much mean the same but slight difference must exist.

    Thank you.
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    They do mean roughly the same thing. Goats and other animals butt with their heads. "Butt in" refers loosely to this image.
    "Jump in" implies that you want to enter the conversation suddenly without any invitation from others who are talking. "Break in" implies rudeness or brusqueness, just as "jump in" and "butt in" do.
  3. semmi Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    So basically they are all interchangeable in this regard, so to conversationalist they all mean to interrupt without being invited, don't they?
  4. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    That's true for me, and quite eloquent, semmi.
  5. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    They do mean that, semmi.

    If you are talking too much for too long a time, one of your listeners might grow impatient and ask you "Do you mind if I break in for a minute?" If you hear somebody ask that question, you should shut up for a while and let the other person speak.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  6. semmi Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    Ok, so I can look on break in as the most polite among others, regardless that "do you mind" preceded it. Hoping that "shut up" does not degrade our subject.
  7. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    "Degrade"? How? There's nothing wrong with writing or saying "shut up" that I'm aware of. The advice still holds true. If "shut up" bothers you for some reason, then you can replace it with "be quiet", which might not sound so offensive to you.

    I'm not sure that "break in" is any more polite than "butt in" or "jump in". Perhaps other speakers consider it more polite, but I don't.
  8. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    I agree with the other posters. However in my neck of the woods, butt in tends to be negative "don't butt in"
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Note that "jump in" is more or less a metaphor meaning "join in," such as jumping into a swimming pool with friends.

    You might hear an invitation by a group to "jump in" the conversation, but probably not "butt in" or "break in."
  10. semmi Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    Again, everyone's appreciated for replies, but to respond in general, if i was breastfed with this language i wouldn't ask seemingly stupid questions
  11. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Your question wasn't stupid, semmi. It was perfectly normal.

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