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Grammar Damage

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Are you bringing dinner home or are you taking it home?

Grammar and composition books have various sections: grammar, sentence structure, composition, mechanics and usage. Usage concerns itself with the correct and incorrect use of words whether they be verbs, nouns or words that sound alike.

Lately there has been a great deal of confusion between the words “bring” and “take.” You hear people saying, “Bring your plate over to the sink.”

 Is that correct or incorrect? Similarly you might hear someone say, “I’m going to bring food home for dinner.” Correct or incorrect?

Here are the definitions from two different textbooks called “Grammar and Composition”: 1: Bring, take. These two words are exactly opposite in meaning. Use BRING to indicate motion TOWARD the speaker. Use TAKE to indicate motion AWAY from the speaker.

2: Bring and take. BRING means ‘to carry from a distant place to a nearer one. TAKE means the opposite: ‘to carry from a near place to a more distant place.’

So, according to the definitions above, you would take your plate over to the sink or you would take food home for dinner if you were not near the sink or you were not at home when you spoke. (But see answers below.)

Suppose you are at school or work. You would TAKE your work home and you would BRING it back the next day. You wouldn’t ‘bring’ your work home (from school or work).

Interesting proof is offered by fast food chains. They have a “TAKE OUT” window for you to take food (from the restaurant) to your home. They don’t have a “BRING OUT” window.

Also, even extra terrestrials know the difference. At first contact, the alien requests, “Take me to your leader.”  He/she doesn’t request that you “Bring me to your leader.”

Now here’s your assignment for next time: thinking of Yoke’s, Safeway, and WalMart checkout counters, what is wrong with this sign: “10 ITEMS OR LESS.”

ANSWERS:   *If your mother is standing by the sink, she might say, “Bring your plate over to the sink.”  If she is at the table and the sink is across the room, she might say, “Take your plate over to the sink.”

**If you are at home you might say, “I’m going to bring food home for dinner.”  But if you are at work or school, you might say, “I’m going to take food home for dinner.”


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