Word Confusion: Bring versus Take

Posted March 8, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 19 August 2017

It’s easy enough to see how people could confuse this issue between bring and take. For one, bring has a much nicer connotation, more giving while take just sounds plain tacky, selfish.

I know that my first thought involving bring is the question I ask my host/ess when I’ve been invited somewhere: What can I bring? So it’s natural to assume I’m bringing something to the party. However, I am going TO the party, which means I am taking something there FROM home or the store.

On my hostess’ part, she is anticipating what I am bringing TO her party.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Bring Take
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Karen’s Linguistic Issues

“Bring It On” is courtesy of Jose Felipe at Deviant Art

“Today’s Word is ‘Take'” is courtesy of Ross Horsley at My First Dictionary.com

Part of Grammar:
Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: brings
Past tense or past participle: brought
Gerund or present participle: bringing

Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: takes
Past tense: took
Past participle: taken
Gerund or present participle: taking

Use this word from the point of arrival

Come to a place with someone or something

Cause someone or something to come to a place

Make someone or something to move in a particular direction or way

Cause something to be in or change to a particular state or condition

Involve someone in a particular activity

[A negative] Force oneself to do something unpleasant or distressing

Cause someone to receive an amount of money as income or profit

Use this word from the point of departure

Scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one take

Particular version of or approach to something

An amount of something gained or acquired from one source or in one session

Money received at a theater, area, etc. for seats

[Printing] An amount of copy set up at one time or by one compositor

Verb, intransitive:
A plant or seed takes root or begins to grow, germinate

[Grammar] Have or requires as part of the appropriate construction

Verb, transitive
Lay hold of something with one’s hands

Carry or bring with one, convey

Accept or receive someone or something

Make, undertake, or perform an action or task

Require or use up a specified amount of time

When you come to the party, please bring a bottle of wine.

She brought him through his ordeal.

I’ll give you some aspirin to bring down his temperature.

I hope Marilyn brings her homemade caramels.

He completed a difficult scene in two takes.

He had his own whimsical take on life.

Well, what’s your take on commodity taxation?

Verb, intransitive:
The fuchsia cuttings had taken and were looking good.

The tomato seeds took well and are about an inch-and-a-half high.

Verb, transitive:
When we go to the party, let’s take a bottle of wine.

We should take some flowers to her.

I’ll take you to your room.

Noun: bringer
Verb, transitive: outbring, outbrought, outbringing
Adjective: takable, takeable, untakable, untakeable
Noun: take-home pay, take-up, takeaway, takedown, taker, takeoff, takeout, takeover, taker
Phrasal Verb
bring something about
bring something back
bring someone down
bring something down
bring something forth
bring something forward
bring something in
bring someone off
bring something off
bring someone on
bring something on
bring someone out
bring something out
bring someone around
bring someone to
bring something to
bring up
bring someone up
bring something up
take after
take someone apart
take something apart
take something away
take away from
take someone back
take something back
take something down
take from
take someone in
take something in
take off
take something off
take someone on
take something on
take someone out
take something out
take something out on
take something over
take to
take something up
take someone on up
take up with
History of the Word:
Old English bringan is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch brengen and the German bringen. Late Old English tacan meaning get (especially by force), capture is from the Old Norse taka meaning grasp, lay hold of, and is of unknown ultimate origin.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Fly Fisher Stands in Water and Fishing by John and Karen Hollingsworth from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.