Bring me a clear rule 

Rosie Right

A friend has suggested that Rosie write about the use of bring and take. This is not an easy task even though Frederick Crews writes about it clearly in The Random House Handbook, Sixth Edition: "These words describe the same action but from different standpoints. You bring something to a location but take something away from it. Thus you can write He took some flowers from the garden, but you shouldn't write He took his mother some flowers." In his second edition written in 1977, Crews puts it somewhat differently: "You bring something from one place to a nearer one. You carry something in any direction. And you take something from a nearer place to a farther one." Ah, would that the problem were so simple. Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says that Crews' rule does not "apply to all cases of actual use of these verbs ...." The editors then quote Longman Guide to English Usage which instructs, "The distinction of bring and take is one that today is honored in the breach almost as often as in the observance. ... Either verb can be used where the point of view is irrelevant." The great master Shakespeare, who often confounds the rules, confounds this one also: "I'll bring you to your ship ..." — "The Tempest" and "Will you go to them? I will bring you thither ..." — "Romeo and Juliet" Rosie hopes the explanation above helps a bit. She was less than enlightened by Eric Partridge in his book "Usage and Abusage." Partridge tells us: "bring is confused with take only by the illiterate or the unthinking." From the Media: From the Wednesday, Dec. 22 NYT story about the possible sale of Ben & Jerry's: "A street theater group demonstrated outside the Ben & Jerry's shop here last week, offering suggestions including the introduction of new flavors like Chubby Bureaucrat, Funky Money and two-faced Swirl." In the same issue there was an article about corporate executives who study Shakespeare's understanding of men in a seminar called "Movers and Shakespeare." It seems to Rosie that Shakespeare's characters showed some qualities of leadership that we hope will not be copied by business leaders. Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825), letter (1118 W. Main St., Richmond, Va. 23220), fax (355-9089) or e-mail (rright@richmond.infi.net

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