To take and to bring: Italian grammar lesson 173


Unlock the versatility of the Italian verb portare and distinguish it from prendere! This guide will help you master the nuances of carrying, bringing, and taking in Italian with ease. 🇮🇹✨

  • Embrace simplicity: Use portare without hesitation for both “to bring” and “to take” scenarios. It’s your Italian Swiss Army knife for moving stuff around! 🗝️
  • Context is king: The meaning of portare morphs like a linguistic chameleon based on the situation. Pay attention to the details to nail the translation. 🎨
  • Get the gist of prendere: Reserve prendere for “to get” actions, like grabbing or catching something. It’s not just about movement, it’s about acquisition! 🛍️
  • Know your past participles: Got tripped up by tenses? Remember that prendere becomes preso in the past. It’s a small change with a big impact on your grammar game. 🕒
  • Practice makes perfect: Use these verbs in your daily Italian practice. The more you use them, the more intuitive they’ll become. Parla italiano every day! 📚

My thoughts


Italian is a vibrant language. Sometimes, there are many words to describe just one thing. Some other times, just one word might have many different meanings.

In Italian, certain verbs have many meanings, like the verb “to get” in English. Portare is one of these verbs.

The easy aspect of this verb is that you don’t need to decide between two verbs (like in English). Instead, you know you can use portare in both situations.

One verb for two actions

Portare means “to take,” as in “to take something somewhere or to take someone somewhere”.

It also means “to bring something somewhere or someone somewhere”.

It implies movement from one place to another place while carrying something or someone.

Have a look at the following examples:

Mi puoi portare l’asciugamano?

Can you bring me the towel?

Cosa porti questa sera a cena?

What are you bringing for dinner tonight?

Puoi portare questo libro ad Anna?

Can you take this book to Anna?

Mattia ha portato il cane in spiaggia.

Mattia took his dog to the beach.

As you can see in the examples, the translation of the verb portare depends on the context. 

Portare vs. prendere

As we explained earlier in the course, there’s another verb that could be translated as “to take”: prendere.

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However, to avoid confusion, you can try to translate prendere as “to get”, as in “to catch,” or “to grab”.

Here are some examples with prendere:

Luigi ha preso il tuo libro.

Luigi got your book.

Posso prendere questo bicchiere?

Can I get this glass?

Chi ti viene a prendere all’aeroporto?

Who is coming to get you at the airport?

Michele prende l’autobus per andare a lavoro.

Michele gets the bus to go to work.

As you might have noticed, the past participle of prendere is preso, as in Lei ha preso il tuo cellulare.

What is the verb for to bring in Italian?

In Italian, portare means "to bring." And it's used to refer to the act of transferring someone or something.

What is the difference between prendere and portare?

While prendere is typically translated as "to get," the verb portare is commonly translated as "to bring."

hat is the verb for to take in Italian?

The verb prendere in Italian means to take.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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