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bring, take

Bring and take are not interchangeable. The verb bring indicates movement toward the speaker:

  • June brings pie with her whenever she visits.

The verb take indicates movement away from the speaker (who is not necessarily the subject):

  • Greg decided to take his puppy with him to the store.

A simple way to decide whether to use bring or take is to ask yourself whether the thing or person in question is coming “here” (bring) or going “there” (take), always using the speaker as the point of reference.

  • You can take my sleeping bag with you; just remember to bring it back.
  • Could you please bring me those butter tarts, dear? When I’ve put them on the platter, you can take them to the dining room.

The distinction between bring and take is not always observed, especially in spoken English. However, in formal writing, it is best to use bring and take according to the direction of the movement, in reference to the speaker.