Expressions #1 – Give and Take

In the season of giving, I started thinking about those words and discovered that take, in particular, is used in what might seem strange ways. Whenever we use expressions, our listeners’ or readers’ frame of reference is incredibly important. If they don’t understand the expression, we could have a lost message or, perhaps worse, a misinterpretation of the message.

I think that the expressions using the word give all have approximately the same meaning – to step aside, or to cede one’s position – what I might call a negative action from a math perspective. Give up, give in, give way. In contrast, I think of the act of giving as an affirmative action. But all examples seem to mean to let go of something I have.

The expressions with the word take, on the other hand, are all over the place with respect to meaning. I was taken in by that speaker (meaning, I was fooled). I am taken with that color (meaning, I like that color). I was taken aback by that person’s behavior (meaning, I was surprised). Taken aback does seem to have a physical corresponding action, e.g. taking a step backwards.

My favorite though, uses our friend “up.” I have taken up gardening (meaning, I have started to garden). I am pretty darn sure I am not, literally, picking up the garden. I don’t have the back for that kind of activity๐Ÿ˜„.

I’m saving “up” for later. There are so many “up” examples, it deserves its own post!

Enjoy the giving season, everyone! And THANK YOU for your help with my website this year.๐Ÿ˜

2 thoughts on “Expressions #1 – Give and Take”

  1. “Take” as noun is also versatile. For example: “After once again flubbing her lines, the actress was instructed to get ready for ‘Take 12’ of the bank robbery scene.” “The bank robber was arrested after bragging about his big take on social media.”

    • I hadn’t thought of “take” as a noun, Laura Beth. Thank you for adding that aspect! Interesting that “give” changes to “gift” for the noun, but “take” keeps the same form for both verb and noun. I guess my conclusion is that it can be a challenge to know what the heck the speaker is saying, when using “take” in an expression, both as a verb and as a noun.
      I LOVE your examples, by the way ๐Ÿ˜„!


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