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break up: meaning and explanation

to break up (with somebody) = to end a relationship (with somebody)

If we are talking about a couple, then we can just use break up, not break up with somebody. e.g. Have you heard that Tom and Sarah broke up while they were on holiday?

When you talk about one person in a relationship, then we use break up with somebody. This might be because it was that person’s decision, or just because they are more important to us. e.g. Have you heard that Tom broke up with Sarah while they were on holiday? 

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: North America

Dan .
Dan his girlfriend and hasn't .

About the sentence

…he still hasn’t got over it…

Do you remember the meaning of the the phrasal verb to get over someone/something?

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Scotland

Micro-listening #3

Accent: North America

. .

He a servant. I don't doesn't just him.

About the sentence

…he treats her like a servant

to treat sb like sth is a useful phrase to describe someone’s behaviour towards someone or something. Useful collocations are to treat something like a joke (when someone isn’t taking something seriously) and to treat somebody like a child (when someone is patronising someone else).

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