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To ask for grammar help?

(21 Posts)
TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 05-Nov-15 00:35:50

"How to avoid situations in which your working relationships breakdown."

"How to avoid situations in which your working relationships break down."

Which is correct please?

RalphSteadmansEye Thu 05-Nov-15 00:39:47

The second. You need the verb, not a noun.

Smidge001 Thu 05-Nov-15 00:41:36

Agree with ralph

MyNewBearTotoro Thu 05-Nov-15 00:43:35

"How to avoid situations in which your working relationships break down."

I don't really have a good enough grasp of grammar to properly explain why except that a 'breakdown' is sort of the after effect of things breaking down I guess. The term 'breakdown' very much refers to the act of a person having a mental breakdown - So a person might have a 'breakdown' as a result of their relationship breaking down but a relationship can't breakdown because it isn't a person.

I don't know. I don't think I explained that well, sorry I don't really have a good enough understanding of it myself but you want to use 'break down' anyway.

TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 05-Nov-15 00:47:51

The noun breakdown (one word) means a failure to function, a collapse, or an analysis.

The verb phrase break down (two words) means to go out of order, cause a collapse, or separate into parts.

Then isn't breakdown correct in this context? A relationship fails to function and collapses.

It doesn't "go out of order"

RalphSteadmansEye Thu 05-Nov-15 00:57:19

It's nothing to do with the meaning, but to do with whether you need a verb (which takes the preposition 'down') or a noun.

In this case, you are using a verb.

A relationship can suffer a breakdown (noun) (suffer is the verb here).

OR

A relationship can break down (verb plus preposition - 'down' is where it has broken)

Your sentence has the same parts or ingredients as the second.

3point14159265359 Thu 05-Nov-15 00:59:56

It's not about the definition of the word particularly, it's about the part of speech. And the part of speech you need is the verb (or, in this case, verbal phrase), which is break down.

Mmmmcake123 Thu 05-Nov-15 01:04:34

The second example is correct. The first needs more added to the sentence. Breakdown should be given caps if used as a noun.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 01:06:37

Then isn't breakdown correct in this context? A relationship fails to function and collapses.

No, because it's a noun.

It doesn't "go out of order"

It does. It ceases to function; Falls apart; Stops working properly.

Trust us, you want sentence #2 grin

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 01:08:02

(Those two definitions are very similar in meaning apart from the noun/verb difference.)

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 01:10:17

Have you ever seen, in English, a piece of broken machinery or equipment with an "Out of Order" sign on it?

It means "not in working order".

Is that clearer?

CheckedMate Thu 05-Nov-15 01:25:29

You need a verb, not a noun. Breakdown is a noun, a thing. The correct option is number two.

And, YANeverBU to ask for grammar help! If only more people would! grin

SenecaFalls Thu 05-Nov-15 01:37:31

The correct option is number two.

brittabot Thu 05-Nov-15 01:43:43

On the face of it the answer is 'break down', but if this is a specific scenario you shoukd check with whoever asked the question!

sykadelic Thu 05-Nov-15 01:54:55

I actually don't like the sentence itself because it doesn't read well.

I'd change it to something more like: "How to avoid a breakdown of your working relationships"

ComposHatComesBack Thu 05-Nov-15 02:18:09

Sky I agree.

The sentence in the op is inelegant and unnecessarily wordy. I much prefer your rendering.

What about 'Preserving good working relationships'?

Senpai Thu 05-Nov-15 02:26:28

I'd honestly change the sentence so that the meaning isn't ambiguous like sky suggested.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 03:01:18

The meaning isn't ambiguous confused

The sentence isn't elegant, granted, but the meaning is quite clear.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 03:06:51

On the face of it the answer is 'break down', but if this is a specific scenario you shoukd check with whoever asked the question!

Why?! She asked about grammar.

"How to avoid situations in which your working relationships breakdown."
cannot be and isn't a grammatically correct sentence.

"How to avoid situations in which your working relationships break down." is. (It contains a verb and has a clear meaning.)

TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 05-Nov-15 03:24:30

So if the sentence was as Sky suggested, then it would be correct?

"How to avoid a breakdown of your working relationships."

StrawberryTeaLeaf Thu 05-Nov-15 03:29:51

Yes; Correct and more elegant.

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