What’s the Difference Between “Bring” and “Take”?
Bring and take are verbs that refer to movement. Most of the time, bring implies movement toward something, while take implies movement away from something.
- ○ I will bring that back with me.
- ○ I will take the garbage out.
“Bring” and “Take”
Bring and take are both verbs that have to do with the movement of someone or something from one place to another. Because of their similar definitions, bring and take are often used interchangeably, but is this correct? Let’s take a look at the following sentences:
Are you bringing anything to the party?
Are you taking anything to the party?
Which one is correct? As with many words in the English language, it’s all about perspective. We’ll explain below.
When To Use “Bring” or “Take”
There are some instances in which the correct use of either bring or take is apparent. However, there are some cases that aren’t as obvious.
Bring me that wrapping paper I left by the door, please.
Take me that wrapping paper I left by the door, please.
Bring means to “carry something toward the speaker.” That’s why in the examples above, bring is the word that best fits the sentence.
Can you take that away before guests arrive?
Can you bring that away before guests arrive?
On the other hand, take usually implies “carrying something along to another place, away from the place or speaker.” Because of that, take is the correct word to use in the example above.
Perspective Is Key
As we already mentioned, the correct use of bring or take often has to do with perspective. Consider this scenario: You’re going to a party. You’re already at the venue waiting for guests to arrive when you get a call from a friend. You answer and ask them if they are bringing anything to the party.
In this case, the best word to use would be bring because you’re asking your friend if they are moving something towards you and the party.
However, let’s say you haven’t yet arrived at the venue. When your friend calls, you ask if they are taking anything to the party. In this scenario, because you (and your friend) aren’t yet at the party, your friend would be taking something to the party.
It’s important to note that bring and take sometimes be interchanged without causing much confusion, especially if the direction of the movement is unclear or insignificant. It’s unlikely that the friend who calls for the party will object to you using one or the other.
Take What You Can
To summarize, sometimes the use of bring or take can completely alter your message.
Bring what you can.
Take what you can.
In the first example, bring implies you are taking something with you toward a certain location. In the second example, take implies you are moving something away from somewhere.
Other times, though, you can use either bring or take without confusing anyone. When the direction of the movement is clear and important, make sure to choose the right word. If it’s not, then either will work, especially in casual speech and writing.
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