The Grammarphobia Blog

On “bring” vs. “take”

Q: I live in the East where people are always misusing “bring” and “take.” That’s why my kids don’t have a clue about using them right, no matter how many times I try to explain. “Will you bring me to school?” they ask when they should be saying, “Will you take me to school?” Do you have a simple way to explain to my children how to use “bring” and “take” correctly?

A: In my new grammar book for kids, Woe Is I Jr., which is coming out in May, I put it like this:

“Which way is the stuff moving? Is it coming or going? If it’s coming toward you, someone’s bringing it. If it’s going away from you, someone’s taking it. ‘Bring me my desert,’ said Stewie, ‘and take away these vegetables.’

Things get a bit more complicated, however, when you’re the one who’s carrying the stuff. This is how Woe Is I Jr. deals with it:

“Are you bringing it or are you taking it? It all depends on on which end of the journey you’re talking about. If you’re talking about where the stuff is coming from, you’re taking it. I’m taking you from the dragon. If you’re talking about where the stuff is going, you’re bringing it. Lord Farquaad wants me to bring you to him.

I hope this helps. Show it to the kids and maybe light bulbs will come on!