“As I started to pull on the top strap, the cheap plastic buckle snapped into 3 pieces.”

English Lesson: As I started to pull on the top strap, the cheap plastic buckle snapped into 3 pieces.

You bought a backpack from an online store. Right after you got it, part of the backpack broke. Now you're writing a review of it on the store website and you explain your problem.

As I started to pull on the top strap, the cheap plastic buckle snapped into 3 pieces.

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a strap

A "strap" is a long, flat, narrow piece of material which you use to hold things together. Some examples of things that have straps include:

  • a guitar
  • a backpack
  • a heavy camera
  • a watch

a cheap (something)

The word "cheap" means "inexpensive" but it also means "low in quality". It especially has this meaning when you talk about the material that something is made of:

  • cheap leather
  • cheap plastic
  • cheap materials

(something) breaks into pieces

When something breaks apart, you can say that it "breaks into pieces". You can also say how many pieces there are:

It fell on the floor and broke into a thousand pieces.

Aside from "break", you can also use other similar words that describe how something broke like "snap", "shatter", "tear", "crack", "explode", etc. For example:

I think I actually heard the bone cracking into two pieces when he hit it.

as (someone did something), (something happened)

Here's a rather formal way of describing two things that happened at the same time:

As I was waiting at the bus stop, a dark rain cloud blew in from the north.

A more casual way to describe the same situation would be:

I was waiting at the bus stop when I saw a dark rain cloud coming my way.

"As I ___, ___" is more common in written stories than in stories told out loud.

(something) snapped

When you say that something "snapped", it means that it broke. But "break" is a very general word. English has several more specific words to describe different ways of breaking:

  • snap
  • shatter
  • tear
  • crumble
  • crack

"Snapping" is specifically a kind of breaking that happens quickly and often makes a noise. Some things that "snap" include:

  • a small stick that you break with your hands
  • a rope that's pulled too tightly

Sometimes when you talk about things "snapping", you talk about how many pieces they snapped into:

It snapped in two.