Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between take something from someone and take something away from someone in the sense of depriving someone of someting by force, authority or stealing? For example:

My mom took my phome (away) from me. She won't give it back until my homework is done.

Robbers tried to take my wallet (away) from me, but a police officer showed up and busted them.

The government is out to take the freedoms of its people (away) from them.

1 Answer 1


It depends on the context, but "took away" carries the idea of removing something from you with a degree of permanency, rather than just taking it out of your hands.

With your example of a phone, "she took it from me" could be used to mean she just held it in her hands for a moment to read something, and then gave it back to you. "She took it away from me" suggests it has been confiscated. If you wanted to remove any ambiguity you could say "My mom has confiscated my phone", although you do add that she did it until your homework was finished, so that clears it up in a similar way.

With your other example of things like human rights, it seems pretty obvious that "taking away" these is a permanent act.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .