Should I Take It or Bring It?

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.

3 Responses to “Should I Take It or Bring It?”

  1. Eric B January 30, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Am I correct in believing that this usage can change if used in conversation? I’m imagining this scenario: I’m going to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner, and I need to supply the pie.

    Do I tell her, “I’ll bring the pie,” since I’m talking about arriving at her house with a pie that originated elsewhere?

    Or do I say “I’ll take the pie,” because I’m leaving my home with the pie and taking it to Grandma’s.

    It has to be “bring”, right? Because the person I’m talking to will, on the night the action takes place, be located at the destination, rather than the point of origin?

  2. Sue Coletta January 30, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Love little tips like this. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll spread the word. Or, should I say, I’ll take this post and share with others.

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