Take is used in combination with a wide range of nouns, where the meaning of the combination is mostly given by the noun – for example: to take a shower or to take a break
You can use take followed by a noun to talk about an action or event, when it would also be possible to use the verb that is related to that noun. For example, you can say ‘Suzanne took a shower‘ whereas the verb related to the noun would make the sentence look like this: ‘Suzanne showered’, see the point? Of course, in some cases we use take because creating a verb from the noun would make the sentence weird or incorrect, as in: ‘Suzanne took a break‘ means that she stopped what she was doing, but if we said: ‘Suzanne broke‘ (broke is the past from the verb ‘to break’) the sentence gains a whole different meaning and becomes… well, quite dramatic!
In colloquial, modern English, we use take with many nouns instead of using a more specific verb. For instance, you could say ‘Ed took control‘ or ‘Suzanne took advice‘ instead of ‘Ed assumed control’ or ‘Suzanne followed or obtained advice’.
It is a very important English verb and many of our students struggle with it, so, in order for you to become more confident using take, here are some important collocations and tips for your self study.
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Sometimes we know the collocation (a combination of verbs) and sometimes we don’t. Below, you can find some typical expressions with ‘take’ and their meanings. We say:
TAKE a bath to wash your body (also: a shower, a sauna)
TAKE after to look or act like someone (usually a family member)
TAKE a moment to use a short amount of time to do something
TAKE a photo to use a camera to make a photograph (also: picture)
TAKE a test to write answers to a test (also: an exam)
TAKE a while to use a long time to do something
TAKE back to return something
TAKE forever to take a very long time
TAKE off to remove clothing
TAKE off to leave the ground and fly
TAKE over to gain control of something
TAKE up to begin a new hobby or sport
You can go through this list a couple of times and then, try to think about the following sentences and find the right collocation from the list above.
- I’m going to the library. I have to _______________ a book I borrowed. (meaning: return)
- I _______________ my shoes before I stepped inside. (meaning: remove)
- We should hurry! The plane is going to _______________ soon! (meaning: leave the ground)
- Where’s my camera? I want to _______________ of the garden. (meaning: use the camera)
- Suzanne wants to _______________ knitting as a new hobby. (meaning: begin a new hobby)
- I was really dirty so I _______________ as soon as I got home. (meaning: wash)
- I _______________ to think before I answered Ed’s question. (meaning: need some time)
- Suzanne really _______________ her mum. They look almost exactly the same. (meaning: be similar to, look alike)
- I have to study hard because I’m going to _______________ next week. (meaning: have an exam)
- Please don’t wait for me. I might _______________ before I’m ready to leave. (meaning: need a long time)
- Napoleon’s armies _______________ much of Europe from 1795 to 1815.(meaning: gain control)
- Hurry up! Are you going to _______________? I’ll be 90 years old before (meaning: need veeeeeeery, veeeery, long time)
Oh, do you want to check your answers? Great! You can watch the Facebook Live Lesson with Suzanne & Ed and compare your answers to the ones they gave during their session.