Bring or Take?

bring and take

speaker’s/hearer’s position

We use bring for movements to the place where the speaker or hearer is, but we use take for movements to other places.

Compare:

  •  This is a nice restaurant. Thanks for bringing me here. (N OT … thanks for taking me here.)
  • Let’s have another drink, and then I’ll take you home. (NOT … and then I’ll bring you home.)
  • (on the phone) Can we come over on Sunday? We’ll bring a picnic.
  • Let’s go and see Aunt May on Sunday. We can take a picnic.

speaker’s/hearer’s past or future position

We can also use bring for a movement to a place where the speaker or hearer already was or will be.

Compare:

  • Where’s that report? ~ I brought it to you when you were in Mr Alien’s office. Don’t you remember? I took the papers to John’s office.
  • I’ll arrive at the hotel at six o’clock. Can you bring the car at six-thirty?
  • Can you take the car to the garage tomorrow? I won’t have time. (NOT Can you bring the car to the garage tomorrow? … )

joining a movement

Bring (with) can be used to talk about joining a movement of the speaker’s/
hearer’s, even if
take is used for the movement itself.

  • I’m taking the kids to the cinema tonight. Would you like to come with us and bring Susie?

somebody else’s position

Sometimes when we are talking about somebody else (not the speaker or
hearer), that person can become the centre of our attention. In that case, we

use bring for movements to the place where he/she is (or was or will be). This often happens in stories.

  • He heard nothing for months. Then one day his brother brought him a letter.

American English

Americans often use bring where British English has take.

  • Let’s go and see Aunt May on Sunday. We can bring a picnic.

bring up and educate

Bring up and the noun upbringing are mostly used for the moral and social training that children receive at home. Educate and education are used for the intellectual and cultural training that people get at school and university.

  • Lucy was brought up by her aunt and educated at the local school.
  • Their kids are very badly brought up – always screaming and fighting.
    (NOT Their kids are very badly educated … )
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