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Cole Parker

Word usage

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Does anyone else have a problem with this, or is it just me? It frequently is just me, so I was wondering.

I keep seeing, and hearing, the usage where the word "bring" is used so as to be synonomous with "take." An example would be: "Sam, your mother called. She wants you to bring Bobby to his house before coming home."

In my way of thinking, this should be "take," not "bring." Yet I see in the other way all the time.

Anyone else have any feel for this, one way or the other?

C

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Does anyone else have a problem with this, or is it just me? It frequently is just me, so I was wondering.I keep seeing, and hearing, the usage where the word "bring" is used so as to be synonomous with "take." An example would be: "Sam, your mother called. She wants you to bring Bobby to his house before coming home." In my way of thinking, this should be "take," not "bring." Yet I see in the other way all the time.Anyone else have any feel for this, one way or the other?C

In proper English, you are entirely correct.

However it has become part of the vernacular -- sort of like ain't -- and is a battle I've given up on. So far, I don't find myself actually SAYING it.

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From WordWeb:

Verb: Bring (brought)

1. Take something or somebody with oneself somewhere

"Bring me the box from the other room"; "This brings me to the main point"

Verb: Take (too, taken)

1. Carry out.

""take action"; "take steps"; "take vengeance""

Both definitions show the other as a synonym as does:

Verb: fetch

1. Go or come after and bring or take back.

It is common in Australia to use all three words as interchangeable at least in my part of the country, slight connotational differences not with standing. :lol:

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Proper: [ take Bobby back to his house ].

Acceptable: [ bring Bobby back to his house ].

The second would be possible, especially if you are bringing him back to his house by car or horse-drawn wagon, for instance, or if you are leading him, or carrying him. Suppose you walk Bobby back to his place. You're accompanying or escorting him to make sure he gets back fine. In any of those cases, you might say you were bringing him back to his house, rather than taking him back.

It's a fine distinction in usage, but I'd say that even in formal, standard English, it's possible to say you're bringing him back home.

-----

Fetch -- Fetch is more dialectal or what used to be called "vulgar" (meaning commoner or less acceptable as "good English usage").

"Fetch the paper, boy!" (One really hopes he's talking to a child or to the dog... not that the child is unimportant.)

"Fetch the paperboy!" (Huh? ...Just making sure if you're paying attention.... Note: any teenagers are welcome to wish they could fetch the paperboy. If they, in fact, do, well, we hope he likes being fetched enough to fetch you back, among other things.)

Those were both OK. Try these on for size, for usage levels:

"Fetch me a pail of water, Jack." (Jack and Jim ran up the hill.... Jill and Jane ran up the hill....)

"Fetch a key to me! Open the crib door!" (Old song/rhyme imitating roosters and hens. Appalachians, early 1900's and earlier.) (Yes, "fetch it to me" or "fetch it" are or were both common. It depends on where you are and on class/economic/educational differences.)

-----

Rule of Thumb:

Use your own judgment, if you're the writer, or if it's dialogue and you're the editor. If you're the editor and it's narrative, then see if it fits the dialect of the story's narrator, or ask the writer why he or she wrote it that way.

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Proper: [ take Bobby back to his house ].

Acceptable: [ bring Bobby back to his house ].

The second would be possible, especially if you are bringing him back to his house by car or horse-drawn wagon, for instance, or if you are leading him, or carrying him. Suppose you walk Bobby back to his place. You're accompanying or escorting him to make sure he gets back fine. In any of those cases, you might say you were bringing him back to his house, rather than taking him back.

It's a fine distinction in usage, but I'd say that even in formal, standard English, it's possible to say you're bringing him back home.

-----

Fetch -- Fetch is more dialectal or what used to be called "vulgar" (meaning commoner or less acceptable as "good English usage").

"Fetch the paper, boy!" (One really hopes he's talking to a child or to the dog... not that the child is unimportant.)

"Fetch the paperboy!" (Huh? ...Just making sure if you're paying attention.... Note: any teenagers are welcome to wish they could fetch the paperboy. If they, in fact, do, well, we hope he likes being fetched enough to fetch you back, among other things.)

Those were both OK. Try these on for size, for usage levels:

"Fetch me a pail of water, Jack." (Jack and Jim ran up the hill.... Jill and Jane ran up the hill....)

"Fetch a key to me! Open the crib door!" (Old song/rhyme imitating roosters and hens. Appalachians, early 1900's and earlier.) (Yes, "fetch it to me" or "fetch it" are or were both common. It depends on where you are and on class/economic/educational differences.)

-----

Rule of Thumb:

Use your own judgment, if you're the writer, or if it's dialogue and you're the editor. If you're the editor and it's narrative, then see if it fits the dialect of the story's narrator, or ask the writer why he or she wrote it that way.

For the sake of guided example (somewhat extreme), arguably, and from an usage point of view rather than one of strict grammar, I would see the connotations in:

take as an aggressive unconditional command to deprive rather than supply, without permission or even, against someone's will.

To bring would be more of a conditional request (or order) with implied permission, to attend with supply, even if deprivation occurs.

Fetch is a colloquial lighter suggestion of request (or order), with a sometimes implied condition, to comply by escorting the supply.

So if I fetch the paperboy, when you asked me to, " Bring the paper, boy!" it is possible that you will tell me to take him back as our paperboy is a retired gentleman over 65 years of age. :lol:

It is a complex area of division in connotation and implied meanings in any given circumstances, often affected by local usage.

Blue's advice to use your own judgement seems good advice to me. :lol:

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take as an aggressive unconditional command to deprive rather than supply, without permission or even, against someone's will.

I just love your wit, Des.

However, you're limiting yourself severely with the above example. Yes, you can say that of "take," but it doesn't have to be that way. You can take the candy to the child and be entirely unaggressive in doing so, and it can be permitted or not permitted, and the child can very much will you do to so. " Take" works however you want it to.

The definitions of "bring" include you yourself being in the equation. They seem to define the word as 'taking something somewhere and going with it yourself.' Yet there seems to be a question of redundancy implied there, as it is difficult for me to imagine taking anything anwhere if you don't go along with it. You can throw something and not accompany it on the journey, but how can you take it and not be there when it arrives?

Anyway, bringing Bobby home just simply sounds wrong to me. Even though people do use the word that way. It sounds colloquial and even a bit coarse and uneducated. Yet it isn't, from the definitions I've seen. So I have to admit to being wrong about it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

C [/color]

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For me it FEELS different with the three words.

"Take" implies, to me, a superior position, or a position of some authority, as in "Take him home." (whether he wants to go or not)

"Bring" implies, to me, a position of equality, as in "Bring him home." (and he has the option of not coming along)

"Fetch", to me, is much like 'take' but he is elsewhere than I am, therefore I need to actually go to get him first, before then taking him somewhere.

The whole thing shifts completely when the usage is concerning inanimate objects.

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As I say Cole, it is a difficult area. Perhaps I should have just left the connotation of take as implying force being used.

Now I find that Trab has described more accurately what I was trying to say. I agree with his assessment, more than with my own.

Excellent Trab, Thank you. :wink:

Glad you enjoyed the comedy spot, Cole. :lol:

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Fetch is more dialectal or what used to be called "vulgar" (meaning commoner or less acceptable as "good English usage").

How dare you! Fetch is perfectly good Southern. I think Southern is still a language.

"Billy-Joe-Bob go and fetch your sister from the henhouse and while you is at it, fetch some chitlins and collard greens so as she can cook 'em afore' daddy gets home from prison."

Hmph. Fetch vulgar? Indeed.

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What the sam hill are they storin' chitlins and collards in the hen house for? They must be damn Yankees to do such a blame fool thing. Lawdy me! Them things don't belong in no henhouse!

You, sir, are the lowest form of Faux Southerner. Every good Southerner knows that a "hen house" and "henhouse" are two entirely different things. Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy what will them Yankees up and say next.

If you watch enough NASCAR your brain cells will deteriorate to the point where Southern will come naturally to you.

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Well y'all I don't know nuttin' about no chilin's henhouse so I's goin' back to Tara where I'll worry about all this tomorrow, tomorrow;

for tomorrow is another day.

(Cue sweeping grand music as the house rides off into the picturesque southern sunset.)

:wink:

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Good old Des. (With the emphasis on the middle word!<g>)

He's certainly the one to tell us about all things Southern!

C

Well I am in South Australia :icon_geek:

Camy, horse? what horse?

The horse died before intermission.

:bunny:

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