especially liable to break into

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Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Animal Farm by Orwell

Q1: Does "they were especially liable to break into" mean "to have a tendency to do something?" Which is to bleat at very crucial moments, right?

He was especially successful with the sheep. Of late the sheep had taken to bleating “Four legs good, two legs bad” both in and out of season and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. It was noticed that they were especially liable to break into “Four legs good, two legs bad” at crucial moments in Snowball’s speeches.
  • Yes, that's basically it; =start [here, bleating] suddenly; interrupt.

    1. .
    2. break into,[~ + into + object]
      • to interrupt:broke into the conversation and began shouting.
      • to express (an emotion, etc.) suddenly:broke into a huge smile when she saw me.
      • to begin making a sound:broke into a song.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Especially liable means particularly liable. In effect, especially goes with at crucial moments.

    I would not use very with crucial. The text also does not say especially crucial moments.
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