MiR 044 Shorts – Bring or Take


Welcome to the Mark in Russia podcast network, episode #44, and I’m your host, Mark. This episode is part of my series of “Shorts” and by this I mean approximately 5 minute long podcasts which are aimed at explaining a Quick Grammar Tip.

You should go to the website, http://www.markinrussia.com and look at the show notes and vocabulary. You’ll get more out of the lesson if you are able to follow it in writing.

Today’s Quick Grammar Tip concerns the use of “Bring” and “Take”. Which is correct and when do we use it.

Even for native English speakers, the verbs “Bring” and “Take” are two often confused verbs. This is especially true on a regional basis, particularly in the Northeast of the US, where I happen to hail from. While you might think, “if one particular area does this wrong, how big can the impact be?” The answer to this question is “Huge”. This is because so many TV programs are actually written in New York, which by the way is in the Northeast of the US, and therefore this error is easily spread throughout the country and also the English speaking world. I’ve heard from many native English speakers that they changed from the correct way of using these words to the incorrect way based upon hearing it used in American TV programs. They actually convinced themselves that they had been using it wrong all along, because it must be vetted and correct if it made its way to TV, right? The correct answer is “Wrong”. As I’ve mentioned before, don’t listen to TV, music or the media and feel that they must be right. Quite often they make ignorant mistakes or just plain misuse the language. Just because something is on TV or in print doesn’t mean the responsible parties know what the hell they are doing.

While there is not a magic formula that I can teach you that will clear everything up, there are a couple of tricks I can tell you about which will make it easier for you.

First I’ll sound a bit confusing, but then hopefully things will clear up.

The use of these two words depends on whether we are speaking about the point of departure or the point of arrival for the object. (That which is being Brought or Taken).

If we are departing to go somewhere we “take”, for example, if you are home speaking to your husband or wife:

“Remember to take the camera to the party this evening” is correct.

“Remember to bring the camera to the party this evening” is wrong.

Now, because I’m from the Northeast of the US, the use of “bring” sounds more correct to my ears, but in this case, my ears are wrong.

If I am the host of the party and I call you at your house, I might say:

“Please don’t forget to bring your camera to the party” which is correct.

“Please don’t forget to take your camera to the party” which is wrong.

Bring

We ask people to bring things to the place where we are. Bring is used in relation to a destination:

Bring the camera to the party at my house.”

Bring your homework to me”

“Please bring the glasses here.”

 

Take

We take things to the place we are going to. We take them from the place where we are to another place. Take is used in relation to a starting point.

“I’m going to take some cake to Jan’s house for her birthday party.”

You ask people to bring things to the place you are, and you take things to the place you are going.

Just try to remember the “TT” trick, meaning “Take There” (they both start with “T”), then you’ll also recall that “bring” would be the opposite.

There are many situations in which the wrong choice will result in a misunderstanding, e.g. (or “for example”):

“I wish that someone would bring me something to eat” which is correct, as opposed to “I wish that someone would take me something to eat”, which apart from being wrong is also not at all clear as to your actual wish.

“Let’s remember to take sunscreen to the beach tomorrow”, but when we are at the beach the following day, it would be, “Did you remember to bring the sunscreen?”.

 

One possible reason for the confusion concerning these two words might be that there are lots of exceptions including many common idioms and phrasal verbs.

And here are a couple of new words I used in today’s episode and their meanings:

“……..particularly in the Northeast of the US, where I happen to hail from.”

To “Hail” from:  To report as one’s home or from where they come from.

They actually convinced themselves that they had been using it wrong all along, because it must be vetted and correct if it made its way to TV, right?

To “Vet”: To examine carefully

Thanks for listening through to the end of this week’s podcast, listen again next week for another Mark in Russia Quick Grammar tip. Until then, Good Bye!

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