the elevator broke

nnyy

Senior Member
Japanese
The elevator is broken, you have to use the stairs.

I saw this sentence online.
Can I say "the elevator broke, you have to use the stairs" to mean the same thing?
I want to know the difference between the two sentences.
I think the first sounds that the sentence describes the status of the elevator and the second describes the completion of breaking.
Please help me with this.
Thanks a lot.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, the first says it's in a state of being broken, and the second says that it broke at some time in the past.

    The first is natural in this context, and is what we'd expect to see.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Can I say "the elevator broke, you have to use the stairs" to mean the same thing?
    I think you can, but broke by itself doesn't sound as likely as broke down does. Broke down is what I typically hear when people refer to machines that stop functioning due to mechanical failure: The elevator broke down, so you'll have to take the stairs.

    Your notions about the difference in meaning between the elevator is broken and the elevator broke (down) make sense.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I never hear "the elevator is broken", I only ever hear "the elevator is out of order".

    Logically components of the elevator fail (break) and render the elevator out of order.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But the main point is that they are telling you the status of the elevator at this moment in time, the moment you want to use it. It is broken (out of order/out of commission). You can't use it.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    But the main point is that they are telling you the status of the elevator at this moment in time, the moment you want to use it. It is broken (out of order/out of commission). You can't use it.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    That is the purpose without doubt.

    In the USA the only thing that I would expect to see: "Elevator out of order" unless it was a custom sign.

    I Googled "broken elevator signs" and got these images:
    elevator broken signs - Google Search
     
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