I remember the first time someone called me out for using bring (or was it take?) when I should have used take (or was it bring?). Like many folks, I wasn’t aware I was using the two words incorrectly. So let me give you a few tips so you can avoid making the same mistake.
Both bring and take refer to motion. The distinction is the direction or your point of reference. When the direction is toward someone, use bring. You could also think of come. If you want someone to deliver something to you, to come in your direction, you want them to bring you something.
- “Hey, Fido, bring me the morning paper and my slippers, won’t you?”
When the direction is away from someone, use take. Or think of go—going away from you.
- “I would love it if Fido would also learn to take my dirty dishes to the kitchen.”
Try thinking of it this way: you bring things here; you take things there. You ask people to bring things to you; you take things to them.
Or consider that favorite dinnertime activity for many Americans: picking up a take-out meal. It’s called takeout (noun), not bringout, because you’re taking it away from the restaurant and bringing it home. Just like bringing home the bacon.