I'm not interested in speculation about the meaning on the Aha song that uses these expressions. This was addressed here (or not, the question was closed): [What does "Take on Me" mean in A-ha's song?.

Anyway, I want to know whether "take me on" and "take on me" are used in colloquial English.

For example, could 'take me on' be the short form of 'take me on this trip with you'?

I can also imagine that when you want to give someone a chance, someone could tell you: 'take on me' as meaning 'try me.'

1 Answer 1


Dictionaries give several senses for "take on" The most likely meaning of "take on" is to employ somebody:

We need to take on a new programmer for this project.

If you take me on, I will work 16 hours every day!

I'm afraid we're not going to take you on at this point, but I'd like to give you some feedback on your interview.

It could also mean "fight" or "compete"

I'm the tennis club champion, but the new member wants to take me on next week.

The placement of the object is tricky but consistent with other phrasal verbs. A noun can be placed either "Take on Jack" or "Take Jack on" with little or no difference. Pronouns should be in the middle "Take me on", and not "Take on me".

  • 2
    So, 'take on me' is wrong? Excluding the uses in poems and lyrics.
    – Pierre B
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:25
  • With most phrasal verbs, the object can go either before or after the particle, unless the object is a pronoun, in which case it must go before the particle. There are some that have a different syntax. See macmillandictionaries.com/MED-Magazine/July2005/… for some details and examples.
    – James K
    Dec 11, 2017 at 22:45
  • @PierreB, If you use take as a noun, you could say something like "What is his take on me?", meaning, "what does he think of me?"
    – The Photon
    Dec 11, 2017 at 23:57
  • @PierreB Yes, "take on me" is gramatically wrong if you are using the phrasal verb "take on", as James K explained Jun 21, 2019 at 9:41
  • "what's your take on something?" is like asking like "what's your opinion on something?"
    – gomadeng
    Apr 25, 2021 at 11:59

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