break down
1. for a machine to stop working
2. for a person to mentally ‘fall to pieces’, meaning they lose control and start to cry

– examples

1.
The car was a nightmare: it broke down every month, and ate gas. That said, it did look nice.

The air conditioning in this building breaks down every summer. It’s useless.

2.
For a few weeks Dave seemed OK after he split with Anna, but then, suddenly, one afternoon he broke down at work. It was very sad.


pass down
to pass from an older generation to a younger generation (usually in the same family)

– examples

“This is an old watch my grandfather passed down to me, and one day I will pass it on to you.”


put down
to move an object from your hands to the ground, a table, desk etc.

– examples

“Put down the gun and come out with your hands up” the police shouted.

Anne said this book is very difficult to put down because it is so interesting.


settle down
1. to start a home and family; to stop wandering and make one place ‘home’
2. calm down; become calm after being angry, crazy, or badly behaved

– examples

1.
After years of drinking, smoking and meeting lots of different young women, Dave decided it was time to settle down.

2.
The teacher told the class that if they didn’t settle down they would all be getting punishment exercises.

For a while things were a bit out of control, but they seemed to have settled down now.


sit down
to sit, having been standing

– examples

“If you don’t sit down, I’ll call your mother!” the teacher shouted.

After walking for five hours, Dave decided to sit down on a rock and eat his sandwiches.


take down
1. to lower an object that was up
2. (in sport) to tackle someone, knocking them on the floor)

– examples:

“Oh, could you take that picture of me down from your website? I look terrible.”

It took three weeks to put the stage up, but only two days to take it down.


write down
to write information on a paper, making a recorded note of it

– examples

He boss told the secretary to write down what he was saying because he didn’t want to forget.

“Write this down, would you Sophie: “Dear Dave. You’re fired.” Thanks.