Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

take versus bring in English

What is the difference between “bring” and “take” in English?

Sometimes it can be hard to know when to use them.

Today we’ll show you how to use both of these words in real, native English.

Scenario 1: Hey Michelle what are you doing this weekend? Are you going somewhere? What are you going to take with you?

Scenario 2: I am going to the beach house to celebrate my birthday with my family and my little niece. My mom called yesterday and she asked me to bring a bottle of wine.


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Take versus Bring:

  • Take- I asked Michelle what she was going to take. I would use this if I am not in the place where she is going.
  • Bring- my mom was the one who asked me to “bring” a bottle of wine because my mom is already in that place.


Does it always matter which one you use?

Not always, but sometimes it does matter and when it does matter it’s very obvious if you use the wrong one.

 Here is a question from our listener:


Great! One more useful podcast. Thanks a lot. I’d like to suggest you guys, making a podcast about when should we use take or bring and also when use get or take. Sometimes it’s confusing for me and maybe for other Brazilians students. Thanks in advance. You Rock girls!!!

-Luiz Carlos Souza


To start off today we checked with Grammar Girl and she said:

“You ask people to bring things to you, and you take things to other people” and she also said, “we bring things here and take things there.”


So if I am attending a dinner party I would ____ a cheese plate to the party. (take)

If I am hosting the party I would ask someone to _____ the cheese plate to the party. (bring)


It’s all about location and point of reference for the action.

But when you get into real spoken English you notice that the rules kind of don’t always hold up.


For example:

A: Are you going to a conference this weekend to make a presentation?

B: Yeah.

A: What are you going to bring/take for the audience?


Here you could use both bring or take.

“Bring” will focus more on the perspective of the audience and “take” will focus more on your own perspective as the speaker.

That’s why you should only use the rule as a basic guide, but then don’t stress out when not everything makes sense under the rule.

And when these verbs come within phrasal verbs they are not always about moving something like an object.

The meaning completely changes.


Here are some examples:

  • To take on- to assume, to make something your responsibility
    • I am taking on a lot of new duties this fall.
  • To bring about- to cause something to come into place
    • New politicians always promise to bring about change.


Today’s takeaway:

Know the basic rule.

Don’t get stuck in it.

Use it as a guide.

Focus on Connection not Perfection.


What questions do you have today?

Go here to get the 7 Simple Secrets to Connection in English.

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