What does portare and prendere mean in Italian?
The verb portare is usually translated in English as the verb to bring, while prendere is normally translated with the verb to get.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
Mi puoi portare un libro?
Can you bring me a book?
Alessandra ha detto che porterà una bottiglia di vino.
Alessandra said she will bring a bottle of wine.
Vieni a prendere le tue cose.
Come and get your things.
Puoi prendere quella scatola?
Can you get that box?
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When to use portare and prendere?
Some uses of prendere and portare are less straightforward. This happens especially when a location is specified, and someone is accompanied or driven to or from that location.
The main cause of confusion is that in English, we can use other kinds of verbs to express this type of action, such as verbs of manner of motion, like to drive or to walk.
They do not indicate any specific direction but only the way the action is carried out, such as by car or on foot.
For example, an English speaker can say I will drive you to the airport. But in Italian, we cannot use the verb guidare (to drive) to translate this sentence.
So how do we know when we should use the verb prendere and when we should use the verb portare?
Let’s find out!
We use portare when the location indicates the end destination of the motion action (the place people are moving to or toward).
In English, we can translate these sentences with the verb to take.
Domani mattina ti porto alla stazione.
I’m taking you to the station tomorrow morning.
Maria mi ha chiesto se la posso portare a scuola.
Maria asked me if I can take her to school.
Ti posso portare a casa.
I can take you home.
We use prendere when the location indicates the origin of the motion action (the place people are moving from).
In English, we can translate these sentences with the verb to get.
Chi ti viene a prendere all’aeroporto?
Who is coming to get you at the airport?
A che ora devi andare a prendere tua figlia a scuola?
What time do you have to go get your daughter at school?
A che ora ti vengo a prendere a casa domani mattina?
What time should I come and get you (from your house) tomorrow?
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