Word Choice – Bring and Take/Come and Go

Paulo’s question: “Could you clarify the use of ‘come’ versus ‘go,’ as well as ‘bring’ versus ‘take?’ I find it strange that someone would write: ‘Yes, I am coming, and I’ll bring wine.’ ”

BizWritingTip response: Use “come” and “go” when you are referring to movement. Use “bring” and “take” when carrying something.

Now for the tricky part.

If you are moving from your current position, you are “going.” If you are carrying anything, you are “taking.”

I’m going to take my computer to the repair shop. (The emphasis is on you and your computer moving from the present location to the repair shop.)
Take out the trash. (The garbage should be moved away from the speaker.)

If you are moving toward the speaker or to a specific location, use “come.” If you are carrying anything, you are “bringing.”

Examples (correct)
I will come to your meeting and will bring my laptop. (Both the writer and the laptop are moving to a specific point.)
Bring in the mail. (The mail will be moving toward the speaker.)

Note: Sometimes both words will fit. It is up to you to choose where you want the emphasis: the point of departure or the point of arrival.

Examples (correct)
I am going to take cookies to the meeting. (The cookies will move from one place to another.)
Will you come to the meeting and bring cookies? (You and your cookies are being asked tomove to the meeting.)

In Paulo’s question, the answer will depend on whether Paulo is hosting the person. If he is doing so, the reply would be “Yes, I am coming, and I’ll bring wine.”  If a third party is having the party, then it would be “Yes, I’m going to the party, and I’ll take wine.”

What’s the address?