In the eternal battle of bring vs. take, neither side is going to take a beating. That’s because both these words have their place, as long as you don’t get them mixed up! Allow me to bring you closer to a full understanding of the similarities and differences, and hopefully the grammar police will cancel their plans to bring an arrest warrant to your house and lock you up.
When you’re considering bring vs. take, remember that they both mean that something—whether a person or an object—is moving from one place to another place. However, it’s the order that makes all the difference.
There are also other uses for bring and take that skirt the true definitions, but these are idioms. In other words, they’re colloquial expressions that break the rules. An example of one of these idioms would be “Son, you take after your uncle.” To keep things clear, however, we’re only going to focus on the primary definitions of both words and the differences between them.
Bring or Take = Toward or Away From
If you bring a pencil, it means that the pencil is coming with you. If you take a pencil, the pencil is going away with you.
In other words, if you have a pencil at home and need it for school, you’ll bring it with you to class. However, if you’re stealing a pencil from the teacher’s supplies and returning home with it, you’re taking the pencil.
It all depends on the context: Where is the object going to end up?
Here’s another example, this one being a dinner party: The bottle of wine is something you bring to the dinner party, but the leftover wine is something you take back home with you. The key is determining whether the object is moving toward or away. You bring things toward a place, but you take things away from a place. See the difference?
More Bring vs. Take Examples
If you’re still lost, here are two more examples of take. The second example includes bring mixed in to show you how the words are related:
He took the ball from the parks and recreation office to use in his home soccer matches.
He brought the baseball bat that he had taken from the parks and recreation office because they were concerned that it had gone missing.
And here are a couple more examples of bring, the second including take as well:
He brought a fudge cake to the bake sale and was disappointed that two other parents had brought the exact same cake that he did.
She wanted to bring her own field hockey stick to the match, but the referees made her take one from the league’s official equipment locker instead.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of when to use take and when to use bring. And if you don’t, well…maybe I just didn’t bring my A game to this blog post!