The Queen’s English Tis the Season: Some Old Chestnuts

        (a)          “Bring and take: the New York mistake.” (A charming, and true, ditty).

If the object to be moved is there, and I’m here, I say to the person who’s there, “Bring me the book.”  If the object is here, and it is to go there, to the person who’s here: “Take the book to her.”

There is an easy test:  If the verb that fits is come, always use bring:  “When you come home this evening bring a newspaper.”  If the verb that fits is go, always use take: “When you go to school, do not forget to take your homework.”

It never fails.

(And, if both of you are here, and the object is there, use the somewhat old-fashioned fetch:  “Be a good dog, Prince, and fetch the newspaper.”)

        (b)          Hopefully.  It is impossible to measure, but my bet is that this is the most misused word in our language.

Inevitably, it is used to start a sentence:  “Hopefully, Beth will arrive on time for the concert.”  What is intended is that the speaker hopes Betty will be punctual; but since hopefully is an adverb and therefore must modify either a verb, adjective, or other adverb (in this case inadvertently it modifies the verb will be), what that speaker is saying literally is that Betty will be in a hopeful state when she arrives.

The soluti

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