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Bring, fetch and take

November 2, 2012

I was doing a quick crossword today (I can do the cryptic ones too, you know, but I just happened to be doing a quick one on this particular occasion) and one of the clues was ‘Fetch’ (5) – which turned out to have the solution ‘bring’. But that’s not quite correct. Fetch and bring are not synonyms.

The relationship between the three words bring, take and fetch is interesting. Bring means ‘come with’. It is relative to ‘here’. Take means ‘go with’. It is relative to ‘there’. And fetch means ‘go away and come back with’. It is relative to both here and there.

It must be a nightmare for foreigners to learn. Unless they go to Ireland; I’ve noticed that in Irish English the distinction between bring and take is not very strictly observed. I’m not sure where they stand on fetch, though. 

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