What’s the difference between GET & TAKE?

Do we say “get mail” or “take mail”? How about “get a pill” or “take a pill”? The verbs “to get” and “to take” can be easily misused because they seem so similar. But one of them is passive, and the other is an active verb. In this English grammar lesson, I will explain the difference between “get” and “take”, and I’ll give you examples of how to use them. After watching, you will know exactly which of the two verbs to use in any situation. Bonus: If you watch until the end, I’ll teach you a slang expression that is an exception to the rule. After the lesson, take the quiz at: https://www.engvid.com/get-or-take/


Hi, there. My name’s Ronnie. Are you confused? I’m confused a lot. But, I mean, about English, because this is what you’re here for. I’m going to teach you today about two confusing verbs that maybe, after this lesson, will not be confusing. Yes!

The two verbs that are very confusing in English are “get” and “take”; or “got” in the past tense and “took”. So, you might be translating from your language, and you would say: “I took a beer”, and maybe your friend goes: “Oh my god, that’s terrible.” And you say: “Well, no, it was delicious. I quite liked the beer.” So, we have to be careful when we use these two verbs. And it’s a little bit difficult to explain, but hopefully I can do it. Yes. Come on. Go.

Confusing verbs: “get”, “take”; “got”, “took”. The easiest way for you to think about this is: “got” is going to be a passive situation for you. So, think about it, that you are not doing anything; you’re just sitting there, looking dull-eyed at something, and someone is going to-dunh-dunh-dunh-dunh-give you something. So, if you can understand that “get” and “got” is passive; that someone gives it or gave it to you – this is the foundation of understanding “get” and “got”.

In this situation, you’re going to have two people: You and the person who actually gives you something. Stay with me, here. “Take” and “took” is going to be only one person; it’s going to be you, and you are doing the action. So, we can think that this verb is going to be active; there’s only you and you are doing the action. So, you do or you did something to get, or to achieve, or to obtain the item.

In this one, someone gi-… La. Give. Someone gave it to you or someone gives it to you. We need the “s” here, because this is singular. So, someone gives it to you or someone gave it to you. Think about in a restaurant. You’re sitting in a restaurant or a bar, and you would like a drink. You’re thirsty. You want a big glass of milk. So, you wait there and the server comes over, and they give you the milk. Yes, you’re so happy. So, you take the milk and you drink it.

So, what about a beer? Are you going to say: “I got a beer” or “I took a beer”? What’s the difference? If you say: “I got a beer”, it means that someone gave you the beer; someone delivered you the beer. But if you say: “I took a beer”, you have to be careful, because this means that you are stealing. Uh-oh. So, if you take something, you have to be careful. If you take it without permission, it’s stealing. But if someone says: “Here, here, here. Take this”, then it’s okay.

So, if you say: “I took a beer”, this can have two meanings. One, it can mean that you went to the fridge; you took the beer yourself. There’s nobody else to serve you or to give you a beer. The second meaning with this is that you’re actually stealing the beer, so you go, and you take the beer.

So, “take” has the extra element of having permission or without permission. So, “permission” means someone said it’s okay; and without permission, you are stealing it. So, without permission is illegal, and I do not recommend it; unless you want to steal some money from a bank and then give it to me. That’s a good thing. I will take your money. Okay? Give me your money. I’m going to get your money. Give it to me.

Let’s go through some examples. Let’s see if this makes sense to you. So, I want you to think. If we have the noun: “a cold”-achoo-do you get a cold or do you take a cold? So, colds or viruses are transmitted through people, so logically, this is two people; someone actually gives you a cold. So, the correct answer here would be… Uh-oh. I got a cold because somebody gave it to me. Ya-. No, that’s a bad thing.

This word: “a flyer”. Do you know what the noun, “a flyer” means? Not someone who flies. “A flyer” is like a brochure or a paper advertisement. So, you can go to the mall or you can go somewhere, and people will have flyers. Now, usually there’s a flyer sitting on a counter. What do you do? Do you get the flyer or do you take it? You take the flyer, because it’s only you. Nobody is saying: “Here. Here; have a flyer.” You are going to take a flyer.

Next one. In supermarkets, sometimes people are very nice and they give you free food. Yay. This is called “a sample”. So, “a sample” means a small portion of something you get for free. […]


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