Instrumentality, a topic often mentioned in one and the same breath as agents and patients in thematic analyses, is rarely considered a linguistic element in its own right. In the context of everyday language use, instrumentality is a very broad concept and is illustrated frequently, be it overt or not. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the different linguistic typologies and patterns that underlie the expression of different instrumental roles in Dutch and Italian and the function of gestures in instrumentality. Paradigms originating from cognitive and construction grammar are used to shed light on the processes that impact the expression and various typologies of instrumentality. This paper targets cut and break (C&B) verbs since they show particularly interesting characteristics. The analysis of a usage-based corpus, that consists of the free description of stimuli representing C&B events by native speakers, shows that instrumentality can assume almost all grammatical functions and is shown to be the result of joint meaning-construction between two participants in search of shared assumptions.