Take vs Bring: Location, location, location

Posted on November 2, 2015. Filed under: English, grammar | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

“I brought it to Abby,” said the Autopsy Gremlin to Special Agent Gibbs (NCIS series), in reference to the cadaver samples forensics would decipher.  From a communication standpoint, we all know what he meant.  From a word usage view, it just ain’t right:  the forensic lab is on an upper floor, albeit in the same building, while the autopsy room where the Gremlin is speaking is a basement site.

Tony echoes this misspeak:  “I already brought it to her” and “I am bringing it to her…”  In both instances, Abby is not “here.”  She is a distance away in her lab.  When it comes to women, Tony has a real problem with the small things.

Your words for the day (according to Dean):

  • bring = transport an object from another location to here
  • take = transport an object from here to another location.

It is really quite simple:  The Autopsy Gremlin should have said, “I TOOK it to Abby…” as in FROM here (autopsy) TO there (Abby’s lab).  If the Gremlin were in Abby’s lab, then he could have said, “I brought it to Abby.”

Very Special Agent DiNozzo, are you following this dialogue?  If you are here with the object, TAKE it over there.  If someone else is THERE with the object, you want her to BRING it to you.  If you delivered the object and you are with the recipient of the object, you BROUGHT it to her.  If you are explaining yourself to the Boss  — Gibbs — in his cubical, you would say, “I took it to her.”

It is not hard.  In the future, should you have trouble remembering which is which, just think of all the time you wasted reading this little article.  It should become perfectly clear in a flash.

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