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The Chinese Words for Broken: 'Pòle (broken, torn)', 'Huàile (broken)' and 'Suìle (broken to pieces) '

written by: Sujanti Djuanda • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 10/14/2013

The use of the Chinese word for broken depends on the object you're talking about. Here you learn how to use 破了【pòle=broken, cut, torn】,坏了【huàile=broken】and碎了【suìle= broken to pieces】 with examples.

  • slide 1 of 4

    The word broken破了【pòle】is used for something that has a non-intentionally hole or crack in it.

    坏了【huàile=broken, stop working】is used for an object is broken, not worked properly or expired.

    碎了【suìle】 is often used for a fragile object that is broken into pieces (shattered), such as glass-made.

    破了【pòle】, 坏了【huàile=broken, stop working】and碎了【suìle】 can also be used as metaphor.

  • slide 2 of 4

    I. Broken: 破了【pòle=broken, torn, cut】

    a. The word 破了【pòle】is used for something that has a non-intentionally hole or crack in it, such as bag-pack, porcelain, skin, clothing items, paper-made.

    Example 1:

    His knee is cut.

    他的【tāde=his】膝盖【xīgài=knee】破了【pòle=cut】。

    他的 膝盖 破了。

    Example 2:

    My sleeping bag is torn.

    我的【wǒde=my】睡袋【shuìdài=sleeping bag】破了【pòle= torn】。

    我的 睡袋 破了。

    Example 3:

    The paper is torn.

    纸【zhǐ=paper】破了【pòle=torn】。

    纸 破了。

    b.破了【pòle=broken】can also be used as metaphor.

    Example:

    I already think hard but still can't get the answer.

    Literally means," My brain already think until broken, but think not come out.

    我【wǒ=I】脑子【nǎozi=brain】想【xiǎng=think】破了【pòle=broken】都【dōu】想【xiǎng=think】不【bù=not】出来【chūlai=come out】。

    我 脑子 想 破了 都 想 不 出来。

    Others things that use the word 破了【pòle】, such as: 证件【zhèngjiàn=certificate】, 身份证【shēnfènzhèng=ID Card】,书本【shūběn=book】, 袋子【dàizi=bag, sack】,手绢【shǒujuàn=handkerchief】, 帽子【màozǐ】, 衣服【yīfu=clothes】,手【shǒu=hand】.

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    II. Broken: 坏了【huàile=broken, stop working】

    a. 坏了【huàile】is used for an object is broken or not worked properly such as machine, home appliances, electronic item, furniture, glasses, etc.

    Example 1:

    That table is broken.

    那【nà=that】张【zhāng =a measure word for tables】桌子【zhuōzi=table】坏了【huàile=broken】。

    那 张 桌子 坏了。

    Example 2:

    Older brother's mobile phone is broken.

    Older brother's mobile phone is stop working.

    哥哥【gēgē=older brother】的【de】手机【shǒujī=mobile phone】坏了【huàile=broken, stop working】。

    哥哥 的 手机 坏了。

    Example 3:

    His glasses is broken.

    他的【tāde=his】眼镜【yǎnjìng=glasses】坏了【huàile=broken】。

    他的 眼镜 坏了。

    b.坏了【huàile】is also used for an object that is expired such as food, beverage.

    Example 1:

    The bread that I just bought is already expired.

    我【wǒ=I】刚【gāng=just】买【mǎi=buy】得【de】面包【miànbāo=bread】已经【yǐjīng=already】坏了【huàile= expired, broken】。

    我 刚 买 得 面包 已经 坏了。

    Example 2:

    Soya-bean milk is expired.

    豆浆【dòujiāng= soya-bean milk】坏了【huàile=expired, broken】。

    豆浆 坏了。

    Others things that use this word: 坏了【huàile】, such as: 蛋【dàn=egg】,牛肉【niúròu=beef】, 蛋糕【dàngāo=cake】, 电视【diànshì=TV】, 机器【jīqì=machine】, 计算机【jìsuànjī=calculator】, 照相机【zhàoxiàngjī= camera】.

    c. 坏了【huàile】can also be used as metaphor.

    Example:

    He is crazy.

    Literally means," His brain is busted/broken".

    他的【tāde=his】脑子【nǎozi=brain】坏了【huàile】!

    他的 脑子 坏了!

    Compare that with example 2:

    The doctor says, "His brain is damaged".

    医生【yīshēng=doctor】说【shuō=say】,“他的【tāde=his】脑子【nǎozi=brain】坏了【huàile】”。

    医生 说,“他的 脑子 坏了”。

    Here the patient's brain is really damaged.

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    III. Broken:碎了【suìle=broken to pieces, smash】

    a.碎了【suìle】 is often used for a fragile object that is broken into pieces (shattered), such as glass-made.

    Example 1:

    The bottle is smashed.

    The bottle is shattered.

    瓶子【píngzi=bottle】碎了【suìle=broken to pieces, smash】。

    瓶子 碎了。

    Example 2:

    The glass is shattered.

    玻璃杯【bōlibēi=glass, tumbler】碎了【suìle=broken to pieces】。

    玻璃杯 碎了。

    b. 碎了【suìle=broken to pieces, shattered】can also be used as metaphor, such as for dream, heart, feeling etc.

    Example:

    Her dream is shattered.

    她的【tāde=her】梦想【mèngxiǎng= dream of】碎了【suìle=broken to pieces】。

    她的 梦想 碎了。