Sunday, 6 May 2012

Of bring and take

take = away, bring = here (me)
Being a Brit living in Germany, with far from perfect German language skills, I am not in a position to preach, but there is one word mix-up that I find myself regularly irked by. I have spent a couple of years shouting "take" each time "bring" is used wrongly by the kids. So far I have managed to hold my tongue when adults make the same mistake.

But "bring" still continues to be used in place of "take" when English is spoken by our kids, probably because it is one of the mistakes that is continually reinforced by native German speakers when speaking English.

Take is used to describe movement away from the position of the speaker/hearer, and bring to describe movement to the place where the speaker/hearer is, was, or will be:
  • Can you take the kids to school in the car? I'll take the train to work instead.
  • Please take your rubbish and put it in the bin.
  • These shoes that I bought don’t really fit. I'm going to have to take them back.
  • It’s kind of you to invite me to dinner. Is it all right if I bring my friend?
  • I’ve brought you some books. I hope you like them.
There is no instance where I would ask the kids to "bring it away" it would always be "bring it here" or "take it to... (person or place)".

Do you have any pet language mistakes?