The difference between bring and take, two important verbs, is often confused. The main point is that you should look at these verbs in reference to your or another speaker’s location. When the speaker wants something to come to him, he may ask another person to “bring” that item. A woman hosting a dinner might ask someone to bring an appetizer. The speaker is referencing her own place, or wherever she’s holding the dinner as a place close to her. The appetizer will be brought to her.
Here’s where the difference between bring and take gets a little confusing. From the perspective of the person being asked to bring an appetizer by the woman hosting dinner, they are taking the appetizer to a distance away from them (the location of the dinner). When you’re asked to bring an appetizer to an event, you might tell someone else that you’re taking an appetizer to the dinner. You are not, in many cases bringing an appetizer, until you arrive at the host’s destination and announce, “I’ve brought the appetizer.” You wouldn’t want to use: “I’ve taken the appetizer,” when you get to the host’s destination, unless you want to worry him or her that you’re spiriting away their food. Yet you could tell the host, if you’re both in the kitchen, “I’ve taken the appetizer into the dining room,” since you’ve removed the appetizer to a location different from the one where you and the host are.
However, here’s the fun part which often gets people very muddled about the difference between bring and take. If you’re talking on the phone with the woman who wants the appetizer, you won’t ask her, “What should I take to the dinner?” You would ask her, “What shall I bring?” This is because you are viewing the action from her perspective and her location. You might also ask, “May I bring a guest? “Is there anything you’d like me to be bring?” Though from your perspective, you’d be taking something to the dinner, if you stay in conversation with the woman, you discuss it from her perspective and her location.
When two or more parties are viewing the action from the same perspective, that a thing is being “brought” to their location, regardless of whether that location is the same, the things is “brought,” not taken. Another example of the difference between bring and take may be helpful.
Suppose two businessmen are setting off to a meeting together where they have to present a lecture. If they’re both going to the location for the meeting, one might say to the other, “Don’t forget to bring the notes.” This is because the two businessmen are both going together, and the notes will remain with them, essentially at their location at all times. And of course, when you get to the meeting, another anxious coworker might ask, “Did you bring the notes?”
Now say only one businessman is setting off for his business meeting, while the other is staying somewhere else and not attending the meeting. As the businessman going to the meeting is leaving, the businessman who is staying says, “Don’t forget to take the notes.” The notes are “leaving” the businessman not attending the meeting and are viewed from his perspective. When the two are traveling together, they’re doing so with the notes and viewing the subject from the final location where the notes are needed.
Thus the difference between bring and take largely depends upon the perspective from which you are considering the matter. If you’re removing something to another location, from your perspective you’re normally “taking it,” from starting to final location. If you’re asking for something to come to you, or are looking from the viewpoint of the person or place at the destination, you’ll be “bringing it.” When you ask someone to get you something, you ask him or her to bring it, but when you ask someone to remove something you ask him or her to take it. It all depends on how you’re viewing the conversation, and from whose perspective you view it.