It’s a funny thing, this language. It’s odd how we know the things we know, and it’s even odder how we don’t know the things we don’t know. I suppose I could veer off into a discussion of learning at home (growing up) versus what we learn under the guidance of an educational system, but I won’t do that here. We just pick up some things, and we miss other things.
One thing I picked up along the way was how to use bring and take. I’ve never seemed to have trouble with it, and I have always been baffled at how people could get it wrong.
Then — here’s the gotcha — someone pointed out to me that he had never struggled with lie and lay, while I had been struggling my entire (long, as my kids remind me) life with the proper conjugation of those rascally verbs. Leave it to the offspring to help a parent keep his (or her) humility in check.
So … bring and take? What’s the deal?
When you transport something from point A to point B (these are the same points A and B that you used to see in Algebra II, so you’re familiar with them), you are taking it from A and bringing it to B.
Simple examples will help.
Aunt Ruth wiggled her nose in disdain and said, “Please take that wretched thing from this table at once. It smells disgusting.
I smiled a smile I had been longing to smile, and I replied, “Dearest aunt, but that is the fruitcake that you brought me.”
That’s fairly simple, it seems. Oh, we should pause here to point out that in spite of the verb ring having its past tense as rang and its past participle as rung, the past tense and past participle forms of bring are not brang and brung. They are brought and brought (sounds like a law firm). I’ve heard arguments that say using bring / brang / brung is a regional thing. The flu can be regional too, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
I guess I think of bring and take as being analogous to come and go. When you come, you bring, and when you go, you take.
Suppose my children are packing for a trip. My wife is going on the trip and I am not. My daughter comes in and asks whether she should bring her pillow. That’s fine (I think) … the one who is doing the coming is also the one doing the going. She’s leaving point A and will be arriving at point B.
Now, from my wife’s perspective, since my wife is going on the trip, she could say, “Yes, bring it with you.” Well, that is, of course, unless there are too many pillows already at the destination or perhaps there’s not enough room in the car for an extra pillow.
From my perspective, since I am not going on the trip, I could say, “Yes, take it with you,” again with the same caveats. (I love caveats, especially on crackers with a little dollop of cream cheese).
Oh, just so you know, points A and B were always twenty miles apart.