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Grammar Mishaps: Bring vs. Take

Updated on September 29, 2006

What is the difference between bring and take?

A friend recently expressed to me her annoyance with people using these words incorrectly and asked me to write a hub about it. I often hear mistakes in the usage of bring and take. I hope this hub helps you clarify which to use in the proper situation.

The main point to remember is where the action is being regarded. You bring an item to the place where you reside and take them from where you are located to somewhere else.

An easy way to remember is, you take out the garbage and bring in the mail.

Take

Take means to bear THERE or to take AWAY from the speaker

  1. I will take a salad to the picnic.
  2. Please take your plate to the dishwasher.
  3. You can take my coat with you to keep warm.

Bring

Bring means to bear HERE or move TOWARD the speaker.

  1. I will bring a salad home to eat.
  2. Will you bring the paperwork with you tomorrow for our meeting?
  3. I brought leftovers for lunch today.

Any thoughts, contributions or questions?

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    • profile image

      John 

      6 years ago

      To the person who gave a link to usage notes from the American Heritage: when I went to school, anything "American Heritage" was scoffed at. I'd avoid referencing it as authoritative the same way one _would_ reference the OED as _the_ definitive source as opposed to any other. For American English, the reference of note in the Webster's New World; the American Heritage is usually found in the $5 rack.

      Rachel: I agree, but it's just a poorly chosen example because it depends on the frame of reference of the speaker, and as shown here, that context must be filled in by the reader.

    • profile image

      ShadyKay 

      7 years ago

      Take some with you when you go; bring some with you when you come.

    • profile image

      me 

      7 years ago

      Bring HERE , Take THERE

    • profile image

      rjandabby 

      7 years ago

      What is right: "I want to "bring" or "take" my experience, knowledge, abilities for the betterment of your firm" in the "objective" portion of a resume?

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      7 years ago

      I'm so glad to see this! The way "bring" is being misused on TV has been driving me crazy!

    • profile image

      Rachel 

      7 years ago

      It's not "bring" home a salad unless you're at home requesting someone to "bring" it to you. You "take" the salad home if you are elsewhere on your way home. "Home" isn't any different than "picnic" when you're away.

      It's all a matter of the point of reference for the action. You don't bring anything TO someone, you take it to them. People bring things to you, and you take it to them.

    • profile image

      Aaaggghhh! 

      8 years ago

      To Kevin, re your question, I would suggest you re-read the info on this page. Missed it.

      Your reply (to the person asking for the milk) would be "Okay, I will BRING some home." as per your stating that the person asking for milk is at home, and you are not.

      And, no, getting mad at them because they used bring and you think they should have said take, is backwards. They said it correctly. They are asking you to bring it to them, where they are. Maybe re-reading all the info on this page will help.

      I will BRING it TO YOU. I will TAKE it SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    • profile image

      Kevin 

      8 years ago

      Ok, so if some one sends me a text message saying "Bring home some milk.", for example, do i reply with:

      "ok, i will take some home"?

      "ok, i will bring some home"?

      or can i get mad at them for using bring when they should have said take? :P

      (All i assuming the person asking for milk is at home, and i am not.)

    • profile image

      HotMama 

      8 years ago

      Ahlu, you would be correct. This grammar mishap bothers me so much! I have neighbors that use "bring" for everything! Even Dora the Explorer misuses "bring." I wish the TV writers would quit making this mistake. I watch a lot of television and I hear this problem more than any other grammar mishap.

    • profile image

      ahlu 

      8 years ago

      The other day i was at a party and there were some leftovers so the host said "You can bring some home" and a guest replied "ok i'll bring some home" ...i was really confused when i heard this because in both situations i would have used "take" ...someone help clarify please.

    • profile image

      Diane Murison 

      8 years ago

      I think that "bring" refers to something Incoming while "take" refers to something Outgoing.

    • Benbalsam Lee profile image

      Benbalsam Lee 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      what about brings your tithe /takes your tithe?

    • profile image

      Sandy 

      8 years ago

      No, it's TAKE it to Tiffany.

    • profile image

      ging 

      8 years ago

      bring is also used to mean to 'carry' or to keep or have in one's person.

    • profile image

      deanna 

      8 years ago

      so is it safe to say if i have something to give to someone i ask the third person to bring it to the second person as if to say bring this to tiffany

    • profile image

      Klikkai 

      8 years ago

      What about when my student says 'I'll take the photo to our lesson'. As the lesson is in my house and she's talking to me, it should be bring. So it looks like it depends on the location of the person who's listening as well. Is there a grammar rule to express this?!

    • profile image

      DJW 

      9 years ago

      To Mab,

      As posted earlier, the use of bring and take implies the position or location of the speaker, listener, and object. (Bring it here; take it there)

      So if the speaker was not in Minnesota he would say, "Will you take me to Minnesota?" By using the word bring, the speaker implies that he is located in Minnesota. So, how could the listener actually "bring the speaker" to Minnesota if he were already there?

    • profile image

      Mab 

      9 years ago

      What about talking of someone moving you (the speaker) to or from somewhere. Such as, "Will you bring me to Minnesota with you?" Or is it, "Will you take me to Minnesota?"

    • profile image

      Pierre 

      9 years ago

      I'm glad you wrote this. I only wish that the people choosing to use 'bring' for every occasion would check here before grating my nerves.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Mike 

      9 years ago

      Either works in this example, since the reader doesn't know the position of the writer. Written from the perspective of an Embassy official, the usage would be "Bring it to the Embassy". Written from the perspective of somebody in an administrive office somewhere the usage could equally be "Take it to your nearest Embassy". Being English, I would favour the "Take" option since it doesn't imply the reader will be going to the place where the writer works. Being a CNN (and therefore US) website, "Bring" is often used inappropriately.

      In response to Obediah2's post I would offer this. If you say to someone, "Don't forget to bring your sleeping bag", you are implying that they will be moving towards you in doing so, perhaps meeting you at the party spot. If you say "Don't forget to take.." it would imply that you are not going to be there. After living in the USA for 12 years I still have to stop and think what people really mean when they use "Bring", since they generally do not account for the implied direction. To me, if someone says "When travelling to the desert, don't forget to Bring plenty of water", it implies they are either going to be there when I arrive, or maybe they live in the desert.

    • profile image

      Manju 

      9 years ago

      http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/traveltips/03/02/pa...

      "Once it's clear your passport is lost, bring your passport copy and any other traveling or ID-related paperwork to the nearest embassy or consulate during business hours."

      Shouldn't it be 'take to the nearest embassy' in the sentence above?

    • profile image

      docbrierley1@aol.com 

      10 years ago

      Bring and take - (simple) Don't make it difficult. It is not confusing.

      You take it with you that's why it is called "Take out" at MacDonalds. If it goes with you, you take it. Take the trash out. Take the books to the library. Take it with you and put it over "there."

      If it comes with you, you bring it. You bring something back from the store with you. Will you bring in the mail? Bring some milk back when you come over(here). Bring me a cup of coffee, please. Since the problem is the incorrect use of bring use take instead and you will be correct 90% of the time from what I hear in schools, on television, or read in books or the newspaper. It's take folks. Take, take, take........... just remember take (forget bring for awhile and this problem will balance itself out sooner or later. I have never heard anyone use take improperly, but bring is used incorrectly almost each time it is used (about 90% I'd guess).

    • profile image

      Trina 

      10 years ago

    • profile image

      Masooda 

      11 years ago

      can we say for other person "bring your mobil with you" my boss told me this sentence and i confused why she didn't say "take your mobil with your self"

    • jaypee4u profile image

      jaypee4u 

      11 years ago from Alappuzha

      very informative and easy to understand, there will be no doubt left after reading it

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Jake,

      Great observation!  If the point of origin is unknown, either would work.   Perhaps your use of either "bring" or "take" could be a clue; however, very few would probably understand this grammar game.  ;)

      For example:

      Don't forget to bring a sleeping bag over to my house for our slumber party.

      Don't forget to take a sleeping bag to the campsite.

    • profile image

      Obediah2 

      11 years ago

      If I call someone and say "Don't forget to bring a sleeping bag." Can I assume that I can use either word since there is no way that "grammar" knows if I am calling from our origin or our destination? Is it safe to say that if the location of the speaker is unclear/unknown, either word would be correct? Jake

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      This can be confusing. I'll try another way of explaining. If you are viewing the action from the point of arrival, use "bring". If you are viewing from the point of departure, use "take". When I come home, I will bring my work. (Your point of reference is from your home.) When I go home, I will take my work. (Your point of reference is from work.) I hope this helps. Robin

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 

      12 years ago from Scotland

      i`m confused Robin does that mean that i can bring my work home with me,but i cant take my work home with me.....jimmy

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