Bring it on. See what I’m saying here? I’m inviting you to deliver a challenge my way, and I’m ready for it. Today, that challenge just happens to be the usage of “bring” vs. “take.”
If you need to deliver a book to your neighbor’s, should you “take it next-door” or “bring it next-door”? There is a right answer, whether you’re aware of it or not.
One implies going, and one implies coming.
If you flip it around and your neighbor is returning the book, should she “take it to your house” or “bring it to your house”?
If you’ve known this rule for a long time, more power to you, but for those who aren’t aware:
- “Bring” should be used when something is coming “here.” It implies movement toward something.
- “Take” should be used when something is going “there.” It implies movement away from something.
Maybe, when you’re playing fetch with your dog, you tell him to “Bring it here.” See? Look at that. You already know which word to use, and your grammatically correct dog is a good listener. Of course, here’s hoping your dog also knows what to do when you tell him to “lie”—not “lay”!—down. (You’ve probably heard me say it before, but someday, I will train a dog to tilt his head to the side and look at people quizzically when people tell him to “lay” down. That’s not the right word choice unless he’s laying down a bone, okay?)
Bring me a question, I’ll take you to the answer—or at least I’ll try. Returning to your book-loving neighbor, you should take a book to her. She lives over there, away from you, so “take” is the right word. When she returns that book, she’ll bring it back to you. Wherever you are serves as the “here,” so “bring” is appropriate in this case.
Bring it, folks. It’s not just smack-talk between Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst in a fabulously cheesy cheerleader movie. It’s my word choice challenge to you.
Though, really, if you answer, “oh, it’s already been broughten,” I’m just going to close my eyes and nod. I’ll take the nostalgia, but, oh man, that line… even in the year 2000, that line got me.
Happy writing, everyone.
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