(Seen in books written by real authors. I have one question--WHERE IS YOUR EDITOR????)
"She slammed on the breaks, narrowly avoiding the animal in the road."
"He took a brake, too stressed out to keep going."
For starters, both words can be used as nouns or verbs. I understand how this can be confusing (not really), but bear (not "bare," we'll get to that in another post) with me here.
In the first instance, I suppose it would be helpful if your car tore into a million pieces to avoid hitting an innocent animal in the road. But, to be honest, I can't see that there is any guarantee a random piece won't hit said animal; and, I don't know that car manufacturers would stay in business for very long if, every time there was an obstacle, your vehicle fell to bits.
In the second instance, I am confused as to how a brake (pictured above) could relieve stress, but hey, I understand everyone is different, and I am completely accepting of the fact that a brake brings you some measure of comfort. Even if that is really effing weird.
So, to recap:
* "She slammed on the brakes" or
"He put the brakes on the idea" (meaning he stopped it from progressing)
"He took a break" or
"Glass breaks easily"
And you're welcome.