Common English Usage Differences: Bring versus Take


One common habit among non-native English speakers is that they translate sentences in their native language into English and this is where they go wrong. As someone who is learning spoken English, one needs to understand that the way a sentence is structured in, say Hindi or Tamil, it is not structured the same way in English. The syntax and grammar is different for each language. 

Take versus Bring

This is why a lot of people get confused and use the wrong words in wrong places, changing the entire meaning of a sentence. But don’t feel bad if you make a few common mistakes when speaking English, a lot of fluent English speakers also get confused about usage of certain words, and that is okay. Keep learning and improving, that is the only way to improve your spoken English. One such word which people often get confused about is ‘bring’ and ‘take’. How do you use these words, which word applies in what context? If your head is swarming with all such questions, then you have come to the right place. Let us understand the usage of these two words.

The difference between ‘Bring’ and ‘Take’

How and when you use either of these words depends on the point of reference of the action. When you are asking something to be brought to you, or when you need something to come to you, you use bring. ‘Can you please bring the book here?’ ‘Can you bring me some soup?’ ‘Bring me a candy on your way back’ – in all these scenarios, you need the subject to come to you, hence you use the word ‘Bring’.

Similarly, when something has to go to a destination away from where it is, you use take. ‘Can you take this book to the library?’ ‘Can you take some soup for Anuradha?’ ‘Where are you taking my candy? In all these sentences, the subject is moving from your point of position, hence the word ‘take’ is used.

The thumb rule should be – you ‘bring’ things here, you ‘take’ things there. You ask people to bring you tea. You take the dirty cups to the kitchen. People bring you things, you take your office work  home. Anything coming to your location needs to be ‘brought’ while anything leaving its location to go elsewhere needs to be ‘taken’.

Hope these examples will help you use the right word in the right context. For more such useful tips to learn English, stay tuned.

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-By Chander Madan

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