Dictionary.com

Bring vs. Take

bringtake

Do you bring food to a party, or do you take food to a party? The terms bring and take are often confused, and for good reason. Both words describe the movement of something from one location to another.

Bring describes the movement of something toward a specified location. According to this convention, you can bring food to a party, but not take food to a party. If Maria is having a potluck, her guests might ask her: Is there anything we can bring? or Can I bring a friend? Maria might tell her guests: Bring something to drink, and of course you can bring a friend. In this scenario, you are moving something (food or a friend) toward Maria’s house.

Take, on the other hand, generally describes the movement of something away from a location. Maria might say: I have to take the garbage out tonight. Or she might ask her guests: Do you want to take any leftovers home? In these example, the focus is on the fact that Maria or her guests are removing something (the leftovers or the garbage) from her house.

As with numerous usage conventions, formal English diverges from informal English. For many native speakers, bring and take are often interchangeable in colloquial speech and writing. Is the bring vs. take distinction discussed above something you notice or care about?

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172 Comments

  1. Art -  October 11, 2016 - 12:07 pm

    Do you notice, visual media use “Bring” way too much for “Take”.
    For me I notice an interesting scenario throughout both types of media:
    You HEAR Bring used in speech incorrectly.
    You SEE Take used more often correctly in Print.

    I try to best get it correct as much as I can by using Take (T)o and Bring (B)ack.

    Reply
  2. Monroe -  September 12, 2016 - 7:40 pm

    “take food to a party” is incorrect, you say, but “… to take … leftovers home” is correct, you say.
    The two examples are essentially the same.
    You’re explanation should be revised, because “to take food to a party” is totally correct.

    Reply
    • Virginia Slim -  October 1, 2016 - 3:12 am

      Monroe, ‘Totally correct’? ‘Correct’ is an absolute adjective and can not be qualified by ‘totally’. Something is either correct or incorrect. Perhaps this doesn’t matter very much? But then ‘bring and take’ are hardly the biggest problem facing the world at this moment.

      Reply
  3. RememberThat -  May 11, 2016 - 5:31 am

    I remember the teacher explaining it as a matter of direction FROM the speaker, at that point in time. You may bring something towards me, or take something to a location other than where I am now. I will take drinks to the party, when I go there this evening. You will bring drinks to the party, where I am already located.
    Take some mittens with you when you go to the barn. I’m not there at this time — we’re standing in the kitchen.
    Bring some mittens with you when you come barn. I’m standing in the barn, talking with you via the gawd-awful cell phone.

    Reply
    • Stuart -  May 20, 2016 - 10:30 pm

      Yes, if I am at home and I am telling someone at my home that I will be taking something to a party it is excatly that, as in; “Hey Jack I’m going to take these beers to Joes party”. I am taking them away from where they are. If Jack was already at Joes party he could call and say “Hey Sam could you bring the beers to Joes party when you come?”. Here he says bring because the beers will be moving towards him.

      Reply
      • GECrabtree @Yahoo.com -  August 6, 2016 - 6:23 pm

        I wish you would contact Hollywood and give them this information. I think all the television writers are from New York, where they almost always get it wrong. You BRING something from THERE to HERE, and Take something from HERE to THERE. SIMPLE AS THAT! !!

        Reply
        • Amber Watters -  August 16, 2016 - 5:40 am

          Best description ever…and so simple…duh

          Reply
        • B -  September 6, 2016 - 7:18 am

          THANK YOU!

          Reply
        • Nancy -  September 26, 2016 - 7:09 am

          Not quite so simple.
          If I take something to a party, that is from here to there; but, I told the the host what I will bring, and that it is also from here to there. In this case, there to here is not true for both the host and invitee.

          Reply
          • Tze-wei Lim -  December 7, 2016 - 11:53 pm

            Nancy, ”bring” is used in 3 ways, (1) To describe movement of an object towards the speaker, (2) To describe movement of an object towards the people spoken to, and (3) As a part of phrasal verbs.

            Some examples of the way ”bring” is used in (1) are, ”I will bring the kids home later from the neighbours,” ”I will bring home supper,” ”I will bring the new dog in our station wagon.” In all three, the speaker is at home when speaking.

            Some examples of the way ”bring” is used in (2) are, ”I will bring you some food for tonight’s party,” ”I will bring my new dog when I come tonight,” and ”My daughter will be bringing a friend today when she visits your daughter.”

            Some examples of the way ”bring” is used in (3) are ”bring up,” ”bring to mind,” ”bring in,” and ”bring down.”

            What is incorrect use of the word ”bring” is describing movement of an object away from the speaker to another location the persons spoken to aren’t at, eg ”My wife and I plan to bring our kids to Vietnam for a holiday,” where both the speaker and the person spoken to are not in Vietnam at the moment, ”I will bring you to a nice restaurant for lunch,” and ”Let’s bring our grandmother to the movies today.”

    • mona ali -  July 19, 2016 - 4:23 am

      excellent documentry

      Reply
  4. Brady -  May 3, 2016 - 4:27 pm

    As several people have already mentioned, in some instances, the usage is determined by the construction of the sentence. Consider the example of moving food.
    If you were to say, “I will ___ some food,” either could be correct. If you add the prepositions, “to the party” and “from home,” the sentences would be correct as, “I will take some food to the party,” and, “I will bring some food from home,” respectively.
    However, if both are used, the correctness is indeterminable using the rule given in the article, since both circumstances, removing something from a location and moving something to a location, are met. “I will take some food to the party from home,” and, “I will bring some food to the party from home,” could both be viewed as correct, in my opinion.

    Reply
    • cendy -  May 23, 2016 - 7:18 pm

      no, the second statement is incorrect. you will TAKE the food to the party from home. the food is changing location as well as you, when going to the party!

      Reply
    • GECrabtree @Yahoo.com -  August 6, 2016 - 6:26 pm

      What you are totally missing is the location. You can take the food from here to there or you can bring the food from there to here as in you can bring the food to the party when you come. The details make all the difference

      Reply
  5. kt -  April 22, 2016 - 1:58 pm

    I usually go to a Take Away for my curries and not a Bring Away.

    I sometimes go to a Bring and Buy sale and not a Take and Buy.

    Reply
  6. Fantastick -  April 20, 2016 - 12:51 pm

    Just use “get”!
    Get it?!

    Reply
  7. BotheredBringBollocks -  February 11, 2016 - 4:11 am

    I don’t care what you say. “Bring” and “Take” SHOULD NOT be used interchangeably. Those who argue this actually use ONLY “Bring” interchangeably and NOT take. Error is obvious. This is pure laziness and lack of knowledge of the English language. Buck up and smarten up. “Take” another look at your Grammar lessons.

    Reply
    • PG -  March 19, 2016 - 7:16 am

      What if I am in one location, will have to go get something in another location, and then deliver it to a third location?
      I will (bring or take) the umbrella to you (which I have to go buy first)?
      I will (bring or take) him lunch (again something I will acquire somewhere else?)
      If the rule implies the moving of something from where I am to another location, this situation just confuses me.
      As an ESL speaker I find myself using one or the other without the certainty that it is the correct verb to use.
      Thank you.

      Reply
    • Hamid -  April 11, 2016 - 4:30 am

      In my opinion, the use of bring or take depends on the direction in which the movement is taking place. In the above example, Maria will tell her guests to bring a friend, because the movement will be in her direction. However, the guest will say I will take a friend to Maria, because the movement is away from him to the direction of Maria.

      Reply
      • Ann -  April 25, 2016 - 1:42 pm

        I was taught the rule the same way Hamid states it.

        Reply
      • Ralph -  April 26, 2016 - 2:15 pm

        How about “bring it here” and “take it there”?

        Reply
  8. Mia -  November 24, 2015 - 9:08 am

    Hi everyone!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Taart -  January 14, 2016 - 4:45 pm

      Bring and take can be used interchangeably based on context. When we ask “Do we need to bring anything?” as we leave the house, we assume the context is to move it closer to somewhere else, if we use the same sentence above, but with take, the context shifts to what you are moving away from the place of origin.

      Reply
      • Taart -  January 14, 2016 - 4:56 pm

        If you extend the sentences, you remove the need to know the context. “Do we need to bring anything to the party?” Or “Do we need to take anything with us to the party?”

        Reply
        • Kash -  March 28, 2016 - 9:00 pm

          you are right, the context is very important. When you are speaking with the person whose party you are going to, it is BRING. But when you are telling somebody else about this party you are going to, it is TAKE.

          Reply
      • Roger -  March 5, 2016 - 10:01 pm

        That’s right!

        Reply
  9. Paulo -  September 5, 2015 - 3:42 pm

    In a textbook for students of English as a second language, a couple is at home having a conversation and the following exchange takes place: “Should we take some food with us?”. “Yes, it’s more expensive at the stadium?”. In this example, isn’t something (the food) being moved to a specified location (the stadium)? If so, the author was supposed to use bring instead of take. Or, if take is really correct, is it so because of the movement of something (the food) away from a (implied) location (their home)? It looks very confusing.

    Reply
    • lam -  December 31, 2015 - 4:36 pm

      I think take is correct because they are going to a far place and so they take with them to the far place.

      Reply
  10. XX -  August 7, 2015 - 6:26 am

    “Bring to, take from” encapsulates the guidelines, obviating the need for further commentary.

    Reply
    • pippo -  December 2, 2015 - 2:19 pm

      Thus, you would say to a taxi driver: “Can you bring me to the airport, please?” ?

      Reply
      • Gabriel -  December 16, 2015 - 8:27 am

        It’s wrong in this situation you say bring, the right is take, because you want him to take you to the airport. In portuguese you would say. Me leve ao aeroporto, not me traga ..soo use take when you wanna be taken to somewhere. Another example using both. Bring my friend from the airport and after take me to him, please.

        Reply
    • Jeff M -  January 29, 2016 - 8:30 am

      wrong; it’s take to, bring from. Ex….”I’ll take you to the movies” not “I’ll bring you to the movies”

      Reply
      • glen mcfarlane -  February 29, 2016 - 6:54 am

        There’s no confusion once you pinpoint the LOCATION of the SPEAKER. Hence: “Take me to the airport (I’m not there yet); then go bring my friend FROM home TO me (I’m now at the airport)”….

        Or “take me FROM the airport TO him.”

        Reply
  11. João Grandão -  July 12, 2015 - 5:13 am

    I teach English in Brazil and some of my students notice that “bring” and “take “are used differently in English and ask me about it. In Portuguese, “bring” (“trazer”) is used when you’re talking about going to the place you’e in. “Take” (“levar”) is used when you are refering to somewhere else. I knew how to use these words in English, but never actually stopped to think about them, so I just used to say there was no rule for that. It seems there actually is, and now I know what to answer. Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Cunning Linguist -  May 9, 2015 - 11:19 pm

    I find it funny that a lot of people who have posted below me have made grammar mistakes and misspelled important words. I just wanted to point that out. Great article though.

    Reply
    • Frank Casale -  June 9, 2015 - 5:08 pm

      Cunning linguist, please elaborate! I welcome constructive feedback!

      Reply
  13. francois edwards -  May 5, 2015 - 6:16 pm

    while it may be a bit off-point, i wonder if some of the negative connotation attached to “take” might cause speakers to use bring. i.e, “taking” money is what got bernie madoff a job as cook in federal prioson i once heard mia farrow ask someone in a film if he would bring the children to school from their house. a similar problem haunts the verbs “lie and lay” we lie in bed when we recline to sleep — though we also “lay” in bed if we get lucky, that is

    Reply
  14. Charles -  April 15, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    The problem I see the most was not addressed in this article. Shouldn’t the speaker’s perspective be the deciding factor and not the person that is receiving the object? Eg “Can you take this document to Frank, please?” Instead of “Can you bring this document to Frank, please?” I beleive the first one is correct.

    Reply
    • Led Floyd -  June 28, 2015 - 7:26 am

      Can you take this document to Frank ,please ?
      Can you bring that document Frank ?

      Reply
      • Led Floyd -  June 28, 2015 - 7:27 am

        Can you bring that document from Frank , Please ?

        Reply
  15. Alex Hutcheson -  March 19, 2015 - 1:08 pm

    I always thought it as how it is generally spoken, and that it is by opinion, like the pronounciation “thee and thuh”, and I always see it as Can you brin me this? (Question third person) Or, I will take you this/take this for myself. (statement “I” first person) It rolls off the tongue better, and just sounds more sensable and less of a thought process, to a “natural” choice.(it makes sense with or without much thought)

    Reply
    • Pat -  March 27, 2015 - 1:11 am

      I enjoyed the bring vs. take discussion. However, while I living in Louisiana I discovered the problem long solved . There, and in many places throughout the South, people just “carry” or “tote” everything and everybody—party fixin’s, Grandma, the chil’rins or the bird dogs, regardless of which direction he, she or it is going to or coming from.

      Reply
  16. linda -  March 19, 2015 - 9:11 am

    If my car is not running and I need food, I hope you will BRING/TAKE me to/from the grocery store. lol

    Reply
  17. larkin -  March 18, 2015 - 9:28 am

    hay girls

    Reply
    • The real grammar nazi -  March 26, 2015 - 2:18 pm

      Go away larkin. You’re a creep.

      Reply
    • Frank Casale -  April 16, 2015 - 7:58 am

      That’s pretty bad, Larkin. Even the Nazis think you’re a creep!

      Reply
  18. ellipsis -  March 12, 2015 - 6:07 pm

    Bring to, then take away. Easy way to remember it.

    Reply
  19. Emmalie Smoltz -  March 11, 2015 - 1:05 pm

    I think as an eleven year old it is neither one of those and it is brought

    Reply
    • Your Mom -  March 13, 2015 - 12:54 pm

      rly?

      Reply
    • Em -  March 15, 2015 - 5:26 am

      ACTUALLY, bring is the future tense of brought. Brought and Bring are the same word in different tenses. “I will BRING food.” “I BROUGHT food”
      I will bring, I have brought. Past and Future tenses.

      Reply
  20. angelie -  March 11, 2015 - 8:06 am

    it is depends by the situation.

    Reply
    • Em -  March 15, 2015 - 5:25 am

      ACTUALLY, bring is the future tense of brought. Brought and Bring are the same word in different tenses. “I will BRING food.” “I BROUGHT food”

      Reply
      • Em -  March 15, 2015 - 5:28 am

        Didn’t intend to post that twice, my bad.

        Reply
        • Nona Strickland -  March 23, 2015 - 5:45 am

          I want to say turn up♥♥♥♥♥

          Reply
      • Van -  March 25, 2015 - 8:30 am

        No, “bring” is not future tense; it is present tense. “Will bring” is future tense.

        Reply
      • Frank V. Leone -  October 25, 2015 - 7:21 am

        For starters, there is no future tense in English. “She brings me flowers every day.” is the present tense (not time, TENSE. Not the same thing!).
        You bring back but take away.The speaker is the reference point.

        Reply
    • The real grammar nazi -  March 26, 2015 - 2:19 pm

      *It depends on the situation. -_-

      Reply
  21. Lia -  March 9, 2015 - 6:11 pm

    I think depends where will be the party. If party will be held different place,then i am now, i would say “I take food to a party”.But, if party will be at same place i am now, i would say “i bring food to a party”.Also, if person i speaking with going to attempt same party and we go to the party from different location, i would say “i bring food to a party”. But if we both go to the party now, from same location, i would say ” i take food to a party”.

    Reply
    • Julie. Bezant -  November 5, 2015 - 1:13 pm

      No, no, no. The original poster is wrong and most replies here are wrong. You take food to a party. Today, tomorrow, last week, next week, you TAKE food to a party. You bring back any left-overs if you want to. take is away (take these chains from my heart) and bring is towards you (bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia). I notice all video games use bring and never take probably because they are made by people who are not born English speakers. Take..take it away. bring. bring it back.

      Reply
  22. Ariana monteith -  March 9, 2015 - 5:31 pm

    Every one should have this in there room because a little thing like this would be good in the morning. I would love to have it in my room but I have to share it with my sister all day. So this one is really good to have a round in your room or in the house somewhere around it.

    Reply
    • anthony -  April 11, 2015 - 2:12 am

      I think it’s in their room not in there room,don’t you agree?

      Reply
  23. Ariana monteith -  March 9, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    That would be a good one to do for school too

    Reply
  24. Linda -  March 9, 2015 - 8:18 am

    Yes, good point. When I hear someone use take when the correct word should be bring, it catches my attention and I think, “What did they say?”

    Reply
    • Alvin -  March 10, 2015 - 12:04 am

      Question: who are “they” in your comment. You begin by stating, “When I hear someone use take … “, referring clearly to an individual, that is, “someone”; but you complete the sentence by using the plural pronoun, “they”. This makes no sense! If you’re concerned about the distinction between “take” and “bring” – a laudable attitude – why be cavalier about the agreement between pronouns and their antecedents. This grammatical principle is much more important, don’t you agree?

      Reply
      • Drew -  March 10, 2015 - 6:08 pm

        Singular ‘they’ reflects centuries of usage in common speech, writing and respectable literature.

        We use ‘you’ instead of ‘thou’ these days, so using ‘they’ as a non-gender-specific singular pronoun just makes sense.

        And it’s obvious who the ‘they’ refers to in Linda’s comment. It’s completely unambiguous unless you deliberately misread it.

        Reply
      • Tae -  March 10, 2015 - 7:06 pm

        Singular “they” exists for when you do not know the gender of the person you are speaking about. English has no personal pronoun for an intermediate gender and the singular “they” has been in usage for a very long time. And no, the use of “he or she” is not acceptable, because there are more than two genders. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the concept transexuality, intersex people exist, and different cultures have three or more genders.

        Reply
        • MK -  March 17, 2015 - 1:40 pm

          – The use of “he or she” IS ONLY acceptable, because there are NOT more than two sexes. (Gender is the incorrect word when referring to the human sex of someone, gender, specifically means the sex association of the word, as in he = male sex & she = female sex.) It doesn’t matter if someone agrees with the concept transexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, or gayism, the gender of a word should not change. If you are born with a penis then your sex is male and your gender is he in the written text. Intersex people exist by sinful choice not by birth. They try to distort the sexes and now are screaming for rights in the written text trying to make a new “gender” word that fits them? No. RONG! RONG! RONG! Different cultures DO NOT have three or more genders. (Again, wrong use of the word. Different cultures do not have three or more sexes.)

          Reply
          • Mr S -  July 6, 2015 - 12:11 am

            You’ve just shown how much spare time you’ve got, as you seem to have nowt better to do than look at Victorian medical textbooks. Also, homophobia is stomach-churning and plain wrong. the only person it demeans is the holder of that belief, and I’d ask you to stop such unnecessary diversions from the subject of this blog as they only detract fro a mature and reasoned discussion

          • Frank V. Leone -  October 25, 2015 - 7:30 am

            “He ” and “she’ are pronouns, so they have genders. Please moralize elsewhere. This is about language, not your quaint religious beliefs. And what is “rong”?

      • anonymous bibliophile -  March 11, 2015 - 11:10 pm

        The third-person pronoun “they”, while plural, is used to talk about one person if the gender is unclear or unspecified. if you are going to nitpick, please make sure that you are correct.

        Reply
      • Dara Solomon -  March 16, 2015 - 6:50 pm

        @Alvin,
        Do you really have nothing better to do than troll Dictionary.com’s blog, posting grammatical corrections and responses to other readers’ comments?

        Linda (and any other blog reader who posts a comment, for that matter) deserves respect and recognition for reading through the post and valuing its contents enough to reply.

        I find it pitiful that your response to Linda is so berating; is it really necessary to correct her pronoun usage WHILE using high-level vocabulary (I’m sure you could have used “admirable” instead of “laudable,” or “superior/arrogant” rather than the more esoteric “cavalier.”

        Do you feel better about yourself after belittling others’?

        Reply
        • Shiraz -  January 24, 2016 - 7:49 pm

          I find it pitiful that you think “laudable” and “cavalier” is “high-level vocabulary,” pitiful that you call anything you don’t like “trolling,” and comical that you “berate” someone for “high-level vocabulary” via the word “esoteric.”

          Reply
          • Shiraz -  January 24, 2016 - 7:52 pm

            ….without ever even pointing out that he is wrong in the substance? “They” is and has long been accepted as an indeterminate singular pronoun.

      • The real grammar nazi -  March 26, 2015 - 2:25 pm

        @Alvin

        You just got yourself recruited.

        Reply
      • Frank V. Leone -  October 25, 2015 - 7:26 am

        “They” is now commonly accepted in order to circumvent the gender problem. It is commonly accepted by “them”. “THEM” here being the majority of literate people who have a professional interest in language. “He or she” sounds awkward and tedious to most people. I don’t like the inconsistency, but the truth stands. So pontificate on, but your audience on this point is vanishing.

        Reply
      • Guigno -  May 4, 2016 - 7:58 am

        “they” is correct, it is the pronoun for “someone” or “anyone”

        Reply
    • larkin -  March 23, 2015 - 9:37 am

      lame

      Reply
  25. Linda -  March 9, 2015 - 8:16 am

    Yes, good points. When I hear someone use take when the correct word should be bring, it catches my attention.

    Reply
    • Ariana monteith -  March 9, 2015 - 5:31 pm

      That is a good point

      Reply
    • larkin -  March 23, 2015 - 9:38 am

      no it’s not

      Reply
  26. Nigel -  March 9, 2015 - 7:56 am

    I agree there Is very little room for confusion. Continuing the party scenario however, you do indeed “take” food, all the while it is travelling from your home or a store en route to your host.

    Reply
  27. Edward Mills -  March 9, 2015 - 2:50 am

    This ‘bring’ verse ‘take’ discussion is an excellent one, I used them interchangeably but from today, I know the right usage of them, thanks a lot.

    Reply
  28. Sandi -  March 8, 2015 - 9:07 pm

    Another “Americanisation” of English. It’s heard in just about every TV show of American origin. Now it’s infecting Australian shows and ads.
    Example: When inviting a couple to a barbecue the hostess says, “And don’t bring a thing”. The female invitee then says to male, “We’ve got to bring something”. Grrr.

    Reply
    • Simply Steve -  March 10, 2015 - 7:55 am

      Sorry, both bring and take are of Middle English origin. We Americans are simply attempting to use the words correctly.

      Reply
  29. Diana Barton -  March 8, 2015 - 5:59 pm

    Chris, I’m glad you live with such well spoken individuals. Maybe it’s because I live in a small blue collar town, or because I work with middle school students, but I frequently encounter confusion regarding these terms.

    Reply
  30. Andrew -  March 8, 2015 - 10:21 am

    I have found the current usage of these two words to be conflicting with my understanding of their usages.
    Bring, I have been taught, means to carry something with you towards a place where the request is coming from or where you intend to be; or to raise something up.
    Ex. (1). Please bring a bag when you are coming to my house.
    Ex. (2). He brings up good points in the meeting.
    This is in contrast to the current usage: I will bring her over to the store; or I will bring lunch with me to school…

    Take, on the other hand, means to carry something away from your place, location or position;
    Ex. (1). I will take a bag lunch on my way to the office.

    Their usages in everyday or colloquial speech can tend to be very confusing for me and there appears to be no distinction in their usage or an absence of the word “take”.

    Reply
    • Wendy -  March 10, 2015 - 2:38 am

      nothing

      Reply
  31. Cliff Goodman -  March 8, 2015 - 10:09 am

    i think some of the confusion might have been brought here by our many German immigrants. In their language, bringen is used for take and bring, usually with hin- and her-, similar to our now little-used hither and thither.

    Reply
  32. Brian -  March 8, 2015 - 6:32 am

    Quick question, shoulder may be used instead of can? Anything we may bring, may I bring a friend.

    Reply
    • Ariana monteith -  March 9, 2015 - 3:15 pm

      That was a good one

      Reply
  33. Amber -  March 8, 2015 - 6:09 am

    This seems a bit strange, as I believe it’s still grammatically correct to “take” food to a party, so long as you are talking about taking it away from your home. You wouldn’t tell the person you’re bringing a gift to that you were “taking” it to him or her; you’d say you were “bringing” it to him or her. However, if you were talking to a different person, you would probably tell that person “I’m taking my friend a gift,” not “I’m bringing my friend a gift,” because that third party isn’t on the receiving end of the gift, and thus isn’t hearing about the arrival of the gift, but instead is hearing about the removal of the gift from your house… So it stands to reason that in this case, the colloquial usage is also grammatically correct…right?

    At any rate, it seems as though these explanations would be more helpful if they had examples of incorrect usage that you hear in colloquial speech, because that is what would trigger the “this doesn’t sound quite right” response in native English speakers.

    Thanks for these types of articles–they’re fun to think about!

    Reply
  34. Jean Diehl -  March 8, 2015 - 5:38 am

    I care about it, but it’s not one of my grammar pet peeves. And I use them interchangeably. I have probably even corrected my husband incorrectly.

    Reply
  35. Caroline -  March 8, 2015 - 5:06 am

    I have just noted the time on my message – sent at 11.44 a.m. UK. time…

    It was not my intention to cause offence to anybody from “over the pond” by being disparaging about American English. If anything, I am being disparaging about peoples’ laziness in my country, and I think that television plays a huge part. The U.K. is full of regional accents and funny dialects, but certain areas are featured heavily (i.e. “Eastenders”, set in London) and it can affect the way people speak around the country. For instance, “Ghetto speak” is far too commonly used by some sections of British youth.

    There has been talk, recently, of dumbing-down the English language n primary schools – teaching children to read phonetically whilst leaving out all silent letters. Funnily enough, on news reports, many foreign migrants said that English was easy enough to learn as it is. Hardly anybody thought the latest idea was a good one! Teaching children to read phonetically, only, will not help them to read, in later life, all the wonderful books that exist, classics or otherwise!

    Anyway, rant over. I feel very strongly about what we are doing to annihilate our own beautiful, but often frustrating and nonsensical, language, here in the U.K., and I humbly apologise if I have inadvertently upset anyone in the U.S.A. – I was just thinking of examples.

    Reply
  36. Caroline -  March 8, 2015 - 4:44 am

    Here in England I enjoy watching many American shows (N.C.I.S., C.S.I., Friends, the Simpsons, etc.) and I find myself getting more and more irked at the misuse of the English language! This misuse gets absorbed into everyday use in the U.K. and seems to spread like wildfire!

    The worst perpetrators seem to be British T.V. presenters, who should know better – American English is fine, but I don’t want to hear Brit’s swap it for British English! Am I becoming a grumpy old woman? We should value our language and its idiosyncrasies (my apologies if the spelling is incorrect…I’m not perfect, by any means).

    The point is that I have noticed “bring” is often used instead of “take” in the American language. and it sounds wrong to my sensitive ears! As does somebody asking, “Have you got……..?”, and the reply being, “Yes, I do”……..I do got? I think not! That kind of English is being used everywhere now, it would appear!

    Reply
    • The real grammar nazi -  March 26, 2015 - 2:49 pm

      That’s more like ghetto American English. It’s an atrocity.

      Reply
  37. Bob -  March 8, 2015 - 1:02 am

    I have noticed this confusion with several freinds. I have to admit that is does bother me.

    Reply
  38. Tiaan -  March 8, 2015 - 12:13 am

    Take 5

    Reply
  39. Dana pierson -  March 7, 2015 - 10:51 pm

    Please sign me up please

    Reply
  40. PKK -  March 7, 2015 - 10:10 pm

    I disagree with the Chris & Ariana It’s easy tomess up when using bring and Take and I speak proper English most of the time example: “Do I need to bring something to Maria’s house? or Do I need to take something to Maria’s house?” They both sound reasonable,but only one is proper. (I’m still not sure which one.I think it’s bring) Your examples on further&farther were awesome

    Reply
  41. Dennis Huie -  March 7, 2015 - 6:05 pm

    When he was well into his 60′s, my grandfather once told me: “If I don’t learn something today I consider the whole day a waste”.
    That was more than 55 yrs ago, and I remember it like yesterday. I will take that to my grave.
    Having said that; my hardcopy dictionary is well used, and this app comes in so handy.
    In fact, app is even more helpful, as it gives me information I may not be looking for.

    Reply
  42. Sandra -  March 7, 2015 - 2:38 pm

    RE Take vs Bring. What about situation such as: a sister ask her brother, who are you going to take to the prom? The brother might reply “I’m going to take my friend’s sister.” Another example is: a brother might say to his sister, what dish are you going to take to grandma’s for Thanksgiving? The sister might reply, “I’m going to take Aunt Mary’s crumb-top pumpkin pie. Seemingly there are exceptions to the rule.

    Reply
    • Julie. Bezant -  November 5, 2015 - 1:19 pm

      Those aren’t exceptions to the rule. That IS the rule. You are taking something away.

      Reply
  43. Karen Riehm -  March 7, 2015 - 1:00 pm

    There is s differentiation but your explanation is not anything that I was taught, back in the dark ages when proper English usage was important. I could certainly take something to a party. When I had arrived, then I could say that I had brought it. If the two words are now interchangeable and your explanation reflects current usage, it explains why “take” is about to disappear as “fetch” already has. (except for dogs)

    Reply
  44. Jim -  March 7, 2015 - 11:14 am

    In the examples given, confusion abides; in re, the movement of food first from the Guest’s Home to the Host’s home & then later from the Host’s Home to the Guest’s home. The movement of food was happening with equal specificity in each case. Does not the real differentiation occur in To WHERE the food was going, as in To Whom or From whom: it’s moving: To the Speaker’s house (bring it to me) as opposed to moving toward the Other Person’s house (take it to him).

    One differentiation that cannot be accepted, however, is the equating of LEFTOVERS to GARBAGE. Leftovers may be garbage but garbage isn’t necessarily leftover or all leftovers are not necessarily garbage nor garbage isn’t necessarily a leftover, it could be the primary food (or, in some cases, the guidance.) Also you can BRING a friend to a pot luck dinner if he/she is going to be on the menu. Boy, this does get complicated.

    Reply
  45. rabia -  March 7, 2015 - 5:56 am

    Very informative

    Reply
  46. Alicia Susana -  March 7, 2015 - 4:39 am

    I wonder why we TAKE children to school? Are we removing them from homel?

    Reply
  47. Alicia Susana -  March 7, 2015 - 4:39 am

    I wonder why we TAKE children to school? Are we removing them from school?

    Reply
    • Kit Snicket -  March 9, 2015 - 7:39 pm

      Wait, what? I believe you mean home, as stating in your other post.
      On the subject at hand, yes.

      Reply
  48. Michelle -  March 6, 2015 - 9:35 pm

    I knew that both words described movement of something but I thought that “bring” described movement towards the place of the speaker and “take” described movement away from the place of the speaker. So in the example above, Maria’s guest would ask if there is anything they could take to the party and she would tell them to bring their famous spicy cheese dip.

    Reply
  49. Randolph Watkins -  March 6, 2015 - 9:16 pm

    As a general rule, this works. As so often happens in the English language, there are the exceptions to the rule.
    –He had the tailor take in the trousers.
    –I think I’ll take in a movie.
    –The nun offered to take in the orphans.
    –He was on the take.
    All of these examples imply something coming toward (or received by) the person, including the fit on the waist of the trousers.

    Reply
    • LOL -  March 26, 2015 - 3:17 pm

      The third notation is a little random lol

      Reply
  50. Jody Tucker -  March 6, 2015 - 7:25 pm

    I have always understood that bring means bringing something to somewhere. Also, that take means take away. This was a really good one.

    Reply
    • Lucyme -  March 12, 2015 - 1:18 am

      When I was on grade 7 or my English teacher taught me a good way to remener the correct usage of ” bring vs take”; which is …. Bring here and take there… Easy!

      Reply
  51. Dottie G. -  March 6, 2015 - 5:10 pm

    Once again I realized how easy it is to interchange words in everyday speech, especially when it’s become commonplace. After reading the definitions, it was “of course!” Fun!

    Reply
  52. Peter -  March 6, 2015 - 5:03 pm

    I believe there is a general shift to the use of “bring” exclusively. Is my casual observation accurate?

    Reply
  53. Matt Knighton -  March 6, 2015 - 5:02 pm

    Appreciate the article, but it seems like basic linguistic logic: bring it it there; take it home. I love the articles. Keep ‘em coming.

    Reply
  54. Ceri Chisholm -  March 6, 2015 - 4:30 pm

    I have heard some Americans confuse bring and take, but I think it more common to hear people seeming to confuse the words brought and bought (by pronouncing both as ‘bought’). e.g. I ‘bought’ the car (sic) (meaning that came or went somewhere in a car) and I bought the car (meaning they have purchased a new car).

    This must be very deeply engrained as some people have argued with me when I mentioned that they need to pronounce the ‘r’ in brought if they mean the past tense of ‘bring’.

    Reply
  55. Jen -  March 6, 2015 - 2:14 pm

    People confuse these all the time.

    Reply
  56. Elinor -  March 6, 2015 - 1:52 pm

    Interment and Internment – two words so often confused.
    Help!

    Reply
    • Kit Snicket -  March 9, 2015 - 7:40 pm

      I may tell you I have never heard these two particular words confused all throughout my life. It may just be that we are very well read here at V.F.D.

      Reply
  57. lisa -  March 6, 2015 - 12:43 pm

    I must admit I’ve interchanged them in certain circumstances but definitely see the logic of why I shouldn’t have. Very good to know.

    Reply
  58. Afnan Linjawi -  March 6, 2015 - 12:22 pm

    I think this one is very clear. I don’t think even English learners confuse the two.

    Reply
  59. Marjorie Crandall -  March 6, 2015 - 12:02 pm

    One of my pet peeves is people who say:
    “Which begs the question”
    when they mean:
    “Which raises the question”
    To beg the question means to avoid answering the question.

    Another one of my pet peeves is people who say: altitude when they mean elevation.

    Please discuss these in your blog. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Simply Steve -  March 10, 2015 - 7:58 am

      +100 Marjorie!

      Reply
  60. Talia -  March 6, 2015 - 11:16 am

    Then that would mean the old adage, “You can’t take it with you,” is not proper English. It would be more correct to say, “You can’t bring it with you.” ??

    Reply
  61. Richard -  March 6, 2015 - 10:48 am

    The explanation in itself can be seen as confusing. I think the easiest rule of thumb would be to say that “Bring” comes and goes, “take” only goes.

    Reply
  62. Faith -  March 6, 2015 - 10:39 am

    This BRINGS up a good point. My TAKE away is that I’ve probably been using these words interchangeably and I need to correct my usage! Thank you for the clarity!

    Reply
  63. Rob! -  March 6, 2015 - 10:38 am

    I would tell someone from home that I was taking a bottle to the party but tell someone at the party that I was bringing a bottle so presumably they are only interchangeable depending on who you are talking to?!

    Reply
  64. Mili -  March 6, 2015 - 10:04 am

    Nice. .. Thank u for this.

    Reply
  65. Murray Lu -  March 6, 2015 - 10:02 am

    This one drives me nuts and I have given up as so many people use bring for both meanings. And it can be confusing. A friend once told me he “brought” someone home last night, which to me meant they spent the night together, but he actually meant he “took” the person home–gave her a lift to her own home.

    Reply
  66. Lucien P.Dubuc -  March 6, 2015 - 9:58 am

    WORDS w/same spelling but,/w/ different meaning? ie; “You can BRING a horse to water,but a pencil must be (LEAD)!”

    Reply
  67. sarah -  March 6, 2015 - 9:57 am

    Ah … but as I leave the house to go to the party I am removing the food from my house. So I TAKE food to the party. BRING is from Mary’s perspective. Neat distinction. Hadn’t thought of it before.

    Reply
  68. Terry B -  March 6, 2015 - 9:13 am

    I do & here is an example; if you’re going to Maria’s you should bring/take something with you. I hear both words used, often

    Reply
  69. Abhisek -  March 6, 2015 - 9:11 am

    Well is was confused when I saw he email in my inbox at first but that was clear explaination of the difference between ‘em

    Reply
  70. Randy -  March 6, 2015 - 8:48 am

    If you sing “Take me out to the ballpark” aren’t we moving toward the ballpark!,

    Reply
    • Nona Strickland -  March 23, 2015 - 5:46 am

      Lol yeet no

      Reply
  71. don -  March 6, 2015 - 8:30 am

    To me it depends on the location the statement is generated from then.

    Reply
  72. Stephanie -  March 6, 2015 - 8:09 am

    So is it correct to say take the cake to Ian

    Reply
  73. Marcia -  March 6, 2015 - 7:38 am

    A distinction not mentioned here: I’m not going to Maria’s party, but my friend, Dave, is. I ask him, “What are you taking to the party?” But if I WAS going, I’d ask him, “What are you bringing to the party?” No?

    Reply
  74. Conrad Cook -  March 6, 2015 - 7:25 am

    This is a very good example of proper English. The difference in words such as these was a constant topic of discussion around our dinner table when I was a growing boy. My Mother was extremely proper and demanded the “King’s English”.
    I will admit that I have frequent lapses as I have grown older.

    I “take” it that what I have just said “brings” nothing important to the table.

    Reply
  75. Rosa -  March 6, 2015 - 7:16 am

    Yes i would like this is very good

    Reply
  76. Peg -  March 6, 2015 - 7:05 am

    To make it more complicated: I will take cookies to Maria’s party but I will ask her first if I may bring them!

    Reply
  77. John -  March 6, 2015 - 6:50 am

    I was always taught that take is movement away from the speaker—i.e. Take this note to the principal’s office and bring back his response.Bring is movement toward the speaker.

    Reply
  78. WaltJ -  March 6, 2015 - 6:49 am

    I disagree! I quote from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language – usage under ‘bring’. (In part) “…one takes checks to the bank and brings home cash.” If you change the usage in the above statement to indicate movement toward or way from ONESELF instead of a LOCATION, you get the usage of most(?) of the USA. (I know NY City will disagree with this.)

    Reply
  79. Renee -  March 6, 2015 - 6:42 am

    I am always interested in your word comparisons.

    Reply
  80. Dean Jones -  March 6, 2015 - 6:40 am

    It is not this clear-cut & simple. English brought To Bring in from German. Even the French, which greatly influences our language, uses the same verb for both what many (not all) Americans perceive are two different verbs. To Bring is perfectly acceptable to use for bringing out the garbage, as well as bringing home leftovers from the party whilst still at the party. To Take instead of To Bring is a colloquialism. I don’t give a tiny rodent’s posterior if you define which to use based on the speaker current position. But I do care if you want to cite someone as wrong when it is merely a colloquialism. If the vast majority of Americans insist on mispronouncing route to rhyme with out instead of boot, I do not listen to any of their opinions regarding grammar, especially if they are referring to a colloquialism.

    And, for the record, I am an American, born in Massachusetts, where we would bring things even if the destination was not where we were when we were speaking. And route always rhymed with boot, never with out. It’s a word we borrowed from the French & outside of North America, the rest of the English speaking world still knows how to pronounce the word.

    Reply
  81. Mohamed Jaffar -  March 6, 2015 - 6:35 am

    The confusion, when it happens, is amusing! I have friends who say they are “bringing their child to the doctor’s” when in fact they are “taking their child to the doctor’s” !! Isn’t it a question of a person’s mental orientation? I am coming to your home, so, I’d like to bring along a friend, a dessert : my orientation is the invitation to your home. My child is unwell, so, I take her to the doctor for care : my orientation is away from my home toward the person whose help I’m seeking. Make sense?

    Reply
  82. Lyndsey -  March 6, 2015 - 6:34 am

    I agree with Chris, also one could argue that you can take food to a party inasmuch as you are taking it from your kitchen, a grocery or whatever.

    Reply
  83. Ricky Forguson -  March 6, 2015 - 6:31 am

    “Bring to” vs. “Take from”… we really are addressing colloquial semantics here. I’ve even heard southern folk (of which I’m a proud member) say “Can you carry me to the store?” , which really does ‘rub my rhubarb’. But you’ll never hear anyone kvetch during the 7th inning stretch if we don’t entreat our friends to “Bring me out to the ball game……….”

    Reply
  84. Maureen -  March 6, 2015 - 6:22 am

    Love the word facts. Always interesting.

    Reply
  85. Shaun Thomas-Arnold -  March 6, 2015 - 6:09 am

    I think I’ve mostly heard it as meaning “take from here to there,” which then sounds like a replacement of “bring” with “take.”

    Reply
  86. Mel -  March 6, 2015 - 6:06 am

    I agree with Chris except it makes sense to me that I could take food to a party if from my house to yours.

    Reply
  87. A.C.E -  March 6, 2015 - 6:06 am

    Fairly straightforward, in my opinion. The misuse of the two words isn’t that common both in formal and informal everyday conversation or writing. However I appreciate the explanation of the context and examples cited. Thanks.

    Reply
  88. Darshini. -  March 6, 2015 - 2:00 am

    Responsibility vs devotion.

    Reply
  89. Ruth -  March 5, 2015 - 1:26 pm

    Very interesting.

    Can you tell me the difference between come and go? That is very confusing specially when you are not in the place and people says, let’s say: she is coming to the office.

    Reply
  90. Bev -  March 5, 2015 - 10:50 am

    I’m glad to see this! It drives me crazy to hear people use the word “take” incorrectly, and it seems to have become increasingly common. Another one that seems to be common in recent years is the phrase “graduate high school” or “graduate college” rather than “graduate FROM…” Which is accurate?

    Reply
  91. Chris -  March 5, 2015 - 9:07 am

    I can’t say that I’ve ever seen any confusion on this one. It’s true that they may me interchangeable in the sense that the end state of the action is the same but the distinction in meaning is pretty self evident. I can’t imagine a reasonably fluent speaker of English confusing the two.

    Reply
    • Jane -  March 6, 2015 - 5:55 am

      I can see how they are easily confused. While I may bring something to Maria ‘ s house, I am taking it from mine…therein lies the confusion.

      Reply
    • Joe Boyle -  March 6, 2015 - 6:07 am

      yea, verily! I might (further) add “and forsooth!”.

      Reply
    • Nishant -  March 6, 2015 - 6:37 am

      I do accept that they are interchangeable but there is nothing any confusion about that

      Reply
    • Everett -  March 6, 2015 - 7:28 am

      I hear it almost daily. People say they took their friend to a party, took a girl to a movie, or took a lunch to work. People take their dog to the dog park.

      Can you imagine me saying I took my car to the shop? Does that sound like a foreign statement? Certainly the point isn’t just to get my car out, the point is bringing it to the mechanic. I hear that one frequently.

      Reply
    • Dot -  March 6, 2015 - 10:13 am

      i don’t completely agree with your explanation. They are not similar, they are opposites, the same as: “give and take” and “come and go.” Merriam Webster Dictionary has more complete definitions, they say those words apply to the speaker rather than location.
      A proper usage would be: “Bring that small dictionary to me and take the large one to Aunt Missknowitall.”

      Reply
    • Charles Day -  March 6, 2015 - 2:01 pm

      Bring and take both imply the direction of movement. So the proper usage is dependent on the location of the speaker or writer and/or the recipient or destination. So Maria’s guest speaking from her home might say, I’m going to take something to Maria’s party. But to Maria she would properly say she was bringing it.

      Reply
    • Sun'Du -  March 7, 2015 - 10:03 pm

      I’m with commenter, Chris, on this particular Word Blog. I’m thinking it’s a stretch to believe that even your most inarticulate English language speaker would confuse the proper usage of Take and Bring.

      Reply
    • /\/\arvin -  March 7, 2015 - 10:26 pm

      As foreign language student and teacher, my “take” on the difference between bring and take has always been focused on the destination. I think of the distinction between ‘send’ and ‘receive’ and whether I ‘leave’ or ‘arrive’. On the phone I would use ‘bring’ only focusing on my arrival location, especially the host’s location. However, I would use ‘take’ when focusing on the departure location. For example, I would say, “I’m traveling around the state and ‘taking’ my luggage with me. Such thinking is influenced by my study of German. English is a Germanic language, having split from German around the seventh century. Although English has absorbed thousands of foreign words from Romance languages particularly since the year 1066, it’s fundamental grammatical roots are still German and throughout the centuries it has retained hundreds of everyday Germanic words, such as father, mother, sister, brother, uncle, butter, bread, etc. (Vater, Mutter, Schwester, Bruder, Onkel, Butter, Brot).

      Reply
  92. Ariana -  March 4, 2015 - 2:40 pm

    That is a good one

    Reply
    • Vincent -  March 6, 2015 - 9:12 am

      Again I cannot emphasis enough how excited I feel about this app. Please keep up with the good Work of clarifying these confusing words.
      Now I know the major difference between TAKE and BRING.

      Reply
    • karl greene -  March 6, 2015 - 10:08 am

      Thanks. That distinction is helpful.

      Reply
    • Dan -  March 6, 2015 - 4:33 pm

      This has been one of my pet peeves for years. I have generally said that you really cannot bring something to another location, you take it. On the other hand when you are in a location you have someone bring something to you. But from their end they would say, I will take it, unless responding to a request, as you pointed out; can I bring the drinks etc.. Good one, and we see many in media miss-use this all the time.. Thanks.

      Reply
      • anonymous bibliophile -  March 11, 2015 - 11:15 pm

        Misusage in media is a large source of the problem, I think.

        Reply
    • that's -  March 8, 2015 - 11:14 am

      That’s was good

      Reply
    • anonymous bibliophile -  March 11, 2015 - 11:18 pm

      Then is used when referring to a sequence of actions while than is used in comparison. In short, you should’ve used than.

      Reply

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