Let's say I'm at a friend's house. We have been watching some sports on TV. It has ended. I say goodbye to my friend and leave the couch. On my way out, I see and stop by a bowl of fruit. I ask my friend, who's still on the couch --

Can I take an apple?

He says yes. I grab an apple and leave.

Question: Would it be perfectly natural to use 'take' instead of 'have' here?

  • 2
    Idiomatically, native speakers would be much more likely to use have if they intended to eat the apple while still in the friend's house, and to use take if they wanted to take it with them (specifically, in this case, asking while leaving, but that might not always be true). Reversing those verb choices would still be "acceptable" to most people, but not very common. Jun 18, 2023 at 16:51
  • 1
    ...So it's "Can I have a cigarette?" (to smoke now, while I'm with you) and "Can I take another one for Ron?" - "Who's Ron?" - "Later on!" Jun 18, 2023 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


It depends. If you're taking it, you'll just pick it up and it becomes yours. You've taken it. If you have an apple you'll stick around and eat it. Are you keeping it for yourself? That would be having it.

You must log in to answer this question.

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