What’s Wrong with “Bringing It There”?

Usually, I take my to-go cup for my tea when I have lunch at Central Market. Then I take it home again. Fascinating, eh? Wait, I’m making a point: I don’t bring it there or back home.

Direction is the basis for choosing “take” or “bring.” If the action is toward you, use bring, as in “Please bring your favorite CD to my party.” If it’s away from you, use take.

Does this rule always work? Nope. One takes a cake out of the oven, or takes a toy away from a child. Are these idiomatic? I edited a book in which a character brought a cake out of the oven. I couldn’t support changing “brought” to “took” because “brought” fit the rule strictly. Also, the author may have learned to use “bring/brought” when talking about removing something from an oven, and it’s important to retain such usage—to keep the author’s “voice.”

I know a man who’s done technical writing, and writes and speaks well, and is as detail-oriented as I am. He uses “bring” instead of “take”; it took some effort for me to not correct him every time. I didn’t want to be a jerk because of my knee-jerk response!