Bring It There

There’s a difference between bringing and taking that I think has been lost to some of the people I talk to. And whilst I know that, like a lot of grammar issues, it’s not a big deal, it bugs me, so let’s clear things up if we can.

BRING things HERE.

TAKE things THERE.

 Let’s say Andy is carrying a box to Bernard at Bernard’s house.

If Bernard is involved in the conversation, whether he’s speaking or being spoken to, use BRING, because for Bernard, his house is HERE.

If Bernard isn’t involved – say Andy is discussing the trip with his friend Charlie – use TAKE, because for everyone in the conversation, Bernard’s house is THERE.

Tenses don’t change which verb to use, so obviously you might need to switch it to BRINGING or BROUGHT, TAKING or TOOK etc, but the rules above still apply.

A Niggle

There is a complication to this basic rule – occasions when BRING is used in what looks at first glance like a TAKE situation. Actually, either is probably OK here, but one is more common.

Let’s say Andy is talking to Charlie about the party at Bernard’s tonight. Even though neither of them is at Bernard’s house, they both will be. So although the house is currently THERE, it will be HERE at the time they are talking about.

So, Andy might say, “Can you BRING the box to Bernard’s house tonight?” but the following week, he would probably say “Did you TAKE that box to Bernard’s party last week?”

The Rules

If either (or both) people are at the location in question at the time of discussion, use BRING.

If both people in the discussion will be at the location in question at the time in question, use BRING.

Otherwise, use TAKE.

A Trick?

So far, so confusing? Probably. But there’s a way around all these rules and conditions. In spite of the common phrase to the contrary, most of us know whether we’re coming or going. As in “Are you coming to my party?” or “I went to Bernard’s party last week.”

Well, here’s the trick. If you would use COME (or past tense, CAME), use BRING. If GO (or WENT) is more appropriate, use TAKE.

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Filed under Grammar Rules Simplified, Writing

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