Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t know whether we’re coming or going. So it’s no wonder we also can find “bringing” and “taking” challenging.
document.location.href = 'http://www.rrstar.com/go/x286171908/Wood-on-Words-Bring-and-take-depend-on-perspective'; Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t know whether we’re coming or going. So it’s no wonder we also can find “bringing” and “taking” challenging.
As Albert Einstein made abundantly clear, motion is relative.
In its simplest form, the choice between “bring” and “take” boils down to which way the action is directed.
If it’s toward the speaker, use “bring”: “Come to my house for dinner and bring a bottle of wine.”
If it’s away from the speaker, use “take”: “Leave this house and take your cheap wine with you.” (The dinner didn’t go well.)
Or let’s say you want to make sure your son remembers something for school. The teacher told him to be sure to “bring” it today. You remind him to be sure to “take” it with him. Two different speakers, two different perspectives.
Things can get muddy in a hurry in less obvious situations. In fact, in his “A Grammar Book for You and I ... Oops, Me!” author C. Edward Good devotes a six-page chapter just to “bring/take” scenarios.
I don’t have the space (or the inclination) for a similarly involved exploration. But here’s a typical example, lifted from Bryan A, Garner’s “Garner’s Modern American Usage”:
“When my dad was courting my mom, he used to ‘take’ her a bag of groceries instead of flowers.”
The motion doesn’t involve the speaker. But by choosing “take,” the sentence is from the dad’s perspective. For the mom’s perspective, substitute “bring.”
And throw it all out the window when it comes to idiom. For instance, when we say something “takes the cake,” it’s not to be taken literally. However, if you say something “brings the cake,” we expect to have cake — and eat it, too.
It’s also good to “have what it takes.” It’s less certain whether we’ll want to “have what it brings.”
Similarly, to “bring the house down” is a good thing for a performer. To “take the house down” probably involves demolition.
One last challenge with these two verbs: They’re both irregular.
In the case of “bring,” the past tense is not “bringed,” it’s “brought.” And so is the past participle (there’s no “broughten”): “This Thanksgiving she brought just one kind of pie. I wish someone else had brought other kinds.”
For “take,” the past tense isn’t “taked,” it’s “took,” and the past participle is “taken”: “I took one last look as my car was taken away.”
By the way, “take” also can be a noun. There’s even a “double take.”
“Bring” brings a lot to the table as a verb, but being a noun isn’t bring’s thing.
The placement of a closing quotation mark in relation to another punctuation mark (other than a period or a comma) depends upon whether that mark is part of what’s being quoted.
How do you feel about the revised version of “Huckleberry Finn”? (The question mark is not part of the quoted material, so it goes outside.)
The last thing I expected him to say was, “Do you know who I am?” (The question mark goes inside — it’s part of the quoted question.)
Contact Rockford (Ill.) Register Star senior copy editor Barry Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/woodonwords/.