Comic distraction: bring vs. take

Sunday’s "Rhymes With Orange" reminded me of the problems people have with "bring" and "take."

The comic strip carries the headline: Where the dove actually went. The panel shows a bird sitting at a bar and telling the bartender: "Another dry martini with olives, but this time leave the branch on so I can bring it to Noah." I’d edit the strip to have the bird say, "… take it to Noah."

Here is why: The bird is in one place and he’s speaking about carrying the olive branch to another place. You take from the place you are to the place you’re going. If Noah were speaking, he might tell the dove, "Bring me the olive branch." As Bryan A. Garner explains it, "bring suggests motion toward the writer or reader; it’s analogous to come. Take denotes motion in the opposite direction; it’s analogous to go."

Grammar Girl has a useful tip for remembering "bring" and "take."

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.