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Can You BRING Me to My French Class? No, but I Can TAKE You… Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Grammar, Vocabulary

Unless you are already on the moon, I’m not going to say this to you! It doesn’t matter how much I want to go there.

Logically speaking, ‘bring’ and ‘take’ shouldn’t cause too much confusion, but I hear native speakers make this mistake time and time again (talking about English, by the way).

“I’m going to bring Nicole to the mall.”

No. No, you’re not. You are right in front of me, and we’re not at the mall. If you were to utter that sentence while we’re at the mall, that’s one thing, but that’s not the case.

Simply put, it all depends on where you are when you say ‘bring’ or ‘take.’  It’s a point of reference from the perspective of the speaker. If I want something to come where I am, I’ll ask someone to bring it to me. That means I won’t move and the person comes to me. If someone asks me to hand him son portable (his cell phone), I will get up to take it to him. Basically: bring something HERE but take something THERE.

In the sample sentence, the speaker was talking to me from somewhere that is not the mall, so he can’t bring Nicole there. He can only take her there.

C’est clair (Is it clear)? Awesome. Now for the French.

Both “to bring” and “to take” have 2 forms each in French, but it’s not confusing once you learn the differences. Let’s take a look at them.

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To Bring
When to use it?: When you want something/someone to be where you already are.
The 2 forms of “to bring” in French are apporter and amener. What’s the difference?

Apporter is used when you’re describing things you can physically carry.

     J’ai apporté une bouteille de vin ce soir.
     I brought a bottle of wine this evening.
     (said when entering the room, for example)

Amener is used when you bring along people or animals.

     J’ai amené mon chien au bureau aujourd’hui.
     I brought my dog to the office today.
     (this is, of course, only said if you’re at the office)

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To Take
When to use it?: When you want something/someone to be in a different location than where you are.
The 2 forms of “to take” in French are emporter and emmener. What’s the difference?

Emporter is used when you’re describing things you can physically carry.

     J’ai emporté une bouteille de vin pour la fête hier soir.
     I took a bottle of wine to the party last night.
     (I’m no longer there but explaining what happened)

Emmener is used when you bring along people or animals.

     Papa va emmener son chien au bureau aujourd’hui !
     Dad is going to take his dog to the office today!
     (Dad hasn’t left the house, but when he leaves, Fido is going with him)

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See? Not so difficult!  Need a tip to remember which verb to use?

– Anything you can physically carry (porter in French) has port in it!

– For ‘to take,’ both French verbs start with the letter E. I just remember the small word et to remember that. E for emporter and emmener and T for take = E T.

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About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


Comments:

  1. Linda Rightmire:

    But what about prendre?

  2. RAUL:

    Dear Josh,
    I’m really grateful for both explanations, in English and in French. Many thanks.
    Raúl

  3. Don:

    For what it is worth I remember emporter/emmener by using the English word Emit. That is: to send away from where I am. Bizarre but it works for me.