sock is broken

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ridgemao, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. ridgemao

    ridgemao Senior Member

    Kuala Lumpur
    Chinese - Mandarin

    There was a hole in my sock, can I say my sock is broken?

    If someone heard "the sock is broken", would she/he think the sock was torn in two parts? So I am not sure whether I can say "My sock is broken" when there is a hole in my sock.

    Thank you.
  2. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    If I heard "the sock is broken," I would think the person was not a native speaker of English.

    Socks can be torn or ripped, but they cannot be broken.
  3. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    There's a hole in my sock, my sock's got a hole (in it).
  4. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Something flexible, like paper or the cloth of a sock, can't be "broken".
    As both you (ridgemao) and Enquiring said, the sock "has a hole in it".
    Even "tearing" or "ripping" a sock is unusual, because of the knitted material they are made of.
    Tearing and ripping are more likely to happen to woven cloth.
    I think for some speakers, tearing and ripping are equivalent,
    while for others, tearing is damage to the cloth and ripping is a separation at a seam.
  5. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    A possibly pertinent kindergarten joke:
    A: You must have gone to church today!
    B: How did you know?
    A: Your socks are holey.

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