¿Traer o Llevar? To Bring or To Take?

clinic, doctor, health
Llevo a mi hermano al médico.

¡Hola!

I always get the verbs traer and llevar confused because to bring and to take are used differently in Spanish than they are in English.  You can say the following in English:

I am bringing my brother to the doctor.

-Or-

I am taking my brother to the doctor.

In Spanish, traer means to bring someone or something to the speaker’s location.  Llevar means to take, or to carry, or to transport someone to another place, or to take that person to see another person.  Llevar also means to take something to a location away from the speaker.  Therefore, in Spanish I must say: I am taking my brother to the doctor.  It is incorrect to say: I am bringing my brother to the doctor.

Llevo a mi hermano al médico.     (Correct!)

Traigo  a mi hermano al médico.     (Incorrect!)

Another example in English would be:

I am bringing some paper plates to my friend’s party.

-Or-

I am taking some paper plates to my friend’s party.

In Spanish, I must say that I am taking the paper plates to the party.  I cannot say that I am bringing them.

Llevo unos platos desechables a la fiesta de mi amigo. 

Now, in both English and Spanish I can ask someone to bring something to me. Or, I can talk about someone bringing me something.  If I do so in Spanish, I must use traer.

Can you bring me my sunglasses?

¿Puedes traerme mis gafas de sol?

Marta is bringing me some paper plates.

Marta me trae unos platos desechables.

Marta me trae unos platos desechables.

Here is a little conversation between Marta and myself.  I am waiting for her to bring some paper plates to me at my party.  Both traer and llevar are used.

Susan :  ¿Cuándo vas a traer los platos desechables?

Marta:  Voy a llevar los platos desecahbles en quince minutos.

Susan:  When are you bringing the paper plates?     (traer) (I am the speaker.  Marta is bringing the plates to me.)

“I’m bringing the paper plates in 10 minutes.”     (llevar)  (Marta is now the speaker and she will  be transporting the plates to another person at another location, that is, away from the speaker.)

Here is a funny 2 minute video from Spanish With Ricardo where he demonstrates the use of traer.

Now, here is another short video.  It is from Hispanic Inn Learn Spanish.  Examples of the use of traer and llevar are given.

Writing this post has helped me be less confused about using traer and llegar.

I hope reading this post has made choosing the right verb less confusing for you too!

¡Hasta Luego!