My computer is broken


Senior Member
Hi, I wanted to know if you say "my computer is broken when you mean that it just doesn't work.
When I looked up at this site's dictionary I found a thread about broken computers which might answer my question, but I would like to be sure that you do say it.
Can I tell my boss "my computer is broken, I need to make a purchase of a new one" when I mean that it is unharmed but doesn't work.
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    It would be acceptable but if I were your boss, I'd immediately want to know what's broken. Is the keyboard broken? Is the monitor broken? What is broken?

    If you say that your computer "doesn't work", that is general enough to get the message across. Further questions will be asked, of course (because the boss doesn't usually want to pay for a brand-new computer!) but the word "broken" is too general.

    Edit: "Broken" is usually used to mean physically damaged.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In a business context I would probably begin with:
    My computer doesn't work ...
    What comes next? That depends on the way this situation is managed. Perhaps:
    ... I need a new one.


    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    You would probably say "I need to buy a new one" instead of "I need to make a purchase of a new one".


    Senior Member
    You can also say "There's something wrong with my computer(which will imply that you're not sure what it is), I'll need to get it fixed". I also agree with "my computer doesn't work", or "my computer isn't working (properly)".


    Senior Member
    USA English
    By far, the greatest number of problems that users have with computers is software or user training and asking for new one is like asking for new automobile because the old one ran out of petrol.

    The next most frequent problem is that one component doesn't work and can be easily replaced. You wouldn't ask for a new car because a tire (tyre) was flat. Most computers can be repaired. (An exception is one used by a former colleague who threw the cpu out a fourth-floor window in angry frustration).

    Assuming that your boss is not the company's technical expert as well, I would say something like: "My computer isn't working. Whom shall I call to look at it?" As mentioned above, be prepared to be specific and to avoid embarrassment, first check the power switch, the power cord, the circuit breaker, etc.

    (I once got a call from somebody who claimed her computer didn't'work and when I asked if the power switch was turned on, she said her computer didn't have a power switch - only a switch with a '1' and '0.')

    So, no, I would not say "my computer is broken." Posts 2 and 3 offer excellent approaches.
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