You can take your take anywhere, but you can’t take it here

While many people take the word “take” for granted, it is a surprisingly complex and confusing word that requires you to take great care.

For example, did you know that take is both a verb and a noun?

Did you also know that people constantly are using the word incorrectly?

And finally, can you believe that most people don’t thank me when I correct them?

All in all, these discussions require a lot of give-and-take, so I will give you my take on take.

First of all, most people think of take as a verb meaning to grab hold of something or to carry something with you from one place to another. That’s fine, but the problem arises when people use take and bring synonymously, even though they are definitely different from each other.

Basically, you take objects away from you and you bring them to you.

The children at home love it when they say they need to bring something to school and I suggest that they take the object instead. This leads to a discussion about how they could bring something with them to school if they were already at school, but if they are at home they can only take the object to school.

That discussion then leads to other examples, and usually ends up with us forgetting to deliver the item to school anyway.

Take and bring can be confusing in many situations and I found a great example on the Cambridge Dictionary website. That site uses this sentence “She visits her father every day and always takes him a newspaper.” That is correct if the sentence is from the viewpoint of the daughter.

However, if the sentence is from the viewpoint of the father, it should be “She visits her father every day and always brings him a newspaper.”

So basically, take and bring are different, but also very confusing. And it’s really not important enough that I should be correcting people in my head or out loud, but I enjoy the discussions at home, even if they do confuse me at times.


And speaking of confusing, I don’t know how anyone who is learning English can understand how we use the word take for so many meanings. Here are a few, and while I use them all of the time, I don’t really understand the meaning of take in some of these instances:

Taking a phone call – You are not transferring the call anywhere and it is definitely going to you. You are holding it or accepting it, so it makes some sense, but if the call is coming you then maybe it should be “bringing a phone call.” I would suggest that calling someone else should be taking the call to them.

Taking a break – Accepting a break? Holding a break? What does take mean here exactly? The confusion over taking a break certainly caused big problems for Ross and Rachel on “Friends.”

Taking a pitch – The pitch is coming to you in baseball and you just stand there and do nothing. I suppose you are accepting the pitch, but it does not seem like you are actually taking anything. Plus, you need to swing the bat!

Taking on water in a boat – I guess the boat is holding or accepting the water. Either way, it is bad.

Your take of the money – Somehow, take is now a noun that means your share of the money. I kind of get this because you would actually take some of the money with you after it has been divided up, so I can see how it would become called the take.

Taking after someone – You are carrying their looks or mannerisms to you? Maybe it should be your take of that person.

Take a photo – You can do this literally by carrying a photo, but I don’t see how pushing button on a camera is somehow taking.

Taking a nap – I don’t understand what is being taken here either. Are you holding a nap? Carrying a nap?

Taken with someone – No clue how this works.

Taking a hike – This is what most readers are hoping I would do right now.

Your take of the situation – Your opinion on fascinating topics such as the word take can be called a take. I am not sure why a take is an opinion, but they love takes on talk radio, especially sports talk radio, where the hosts are usually quite taken with themselves.

Taking care – Are you accepting or carrying care with you?

Take one – The videotaping of a scene is called a take, where take is once again a noun. Take one, of course, could also mean you should only remove one.

Taking an airplane – This just seems wrong. The airplane is taking you. How can you take an airplane? And if I am watching you in an airplane flying to my city, then to me the airplane is bringing you.

Being on the take – You are accepting bribes, so my guess is that this take is related your take of the money, but I am not sure.

Getting taken – Here taken means you were cheated, which seems appropriate because the word “take” seems like a big cheater that is used in too many instances.

Intake – The amount of food or air taken into the body, or a valve area where something is taken in.

Undertake – When you promise to do something, or take on a challenge, so I guess it makes sense.

Undertaker – Completely different from undertake, as this is a noun for someone whose business is preparing bodies for funerals, making arrangements for funerals or destroying opponents as one of the greatest WWE superstars ever.


So what can we take from all of this?

First of all, be confident that take and bring are different from each other. Also be assured that if you try to explain the difference to someone, you will inevitably get confused by the numerous ways take and bring can be used.

Also, take takes the cake for how many meanings and uses it has. I could have used many more meanings, but it would have taken too much time. It takes someone much smarter than me to explain it properly, so please do take your time if you want to learn more about take

Finally, while the word take fascinates me, some may disagree and  conclude that this post was nothing but a big mistake.


What other uses of take are interesting or confusing? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

26 thoughts on “You can take your take anywhere, but you can’t take it here

  1. Grammar can be fun and this certainly made me laugh. As a native English speaker, I can only wonder at the confusion faced by anyone learning as a second language.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hear what you say. Good for you. Don’t throw the bathwater out with the baby, though. Taking a break is the norm, coming from a form of acceptance, as in taking this, that or the other if offered a choice (between breaking away from work/routine as opposed to not doing so).Taking on water, ancient. Don’t be pedantic for the sake of it. You can stimulate argument rather than discussion. If you don’t like how take is used, don’t just grumble; give us an example of how you would have molded that sentence. Language isn’t in charge. We are, the writers of language. Take that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pleasure’s mine. You’re doing great work. I’d be flattered if you’d check out my blog Any comments appreciated. I’ve just started blogging, getting back to neglected roots, 15 years after retirement following 40 years in newspaper journalism. Still learning, & I’m going to put together thoughts on some idiosyncratic words, characterised by their sounds and how they look, like ‘idiosyncratic’, which is a funny, lumpy, fiddly sort of word just right for the meaning. Sky, Summer, Spring, Furtive….you can almost feel what they mean from how they sound and look. There must be a name for it….crackers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I will definitely check it out, and I like idiosyncratic words, too. You should write about that. Furtive is a great word, too. And congratulations retiring after 40 years in journalism. Keep writing on your blog, the more you write, the more you will want to write.


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