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You take

Posted by R. Berg on November 03, 2009 at 16:14

In Reply to: Need a word for expression posted by Baceseras on November 02, 2009 at 15:52:

: : : : I am putting together phrases heard during my West Virginia childhood. Here's one: you take - an expression interjected in statements by my great uncle Sanford Walter Vest. "Now, you take, they are saying it's going to be a hard winter." "You take" was used kind of like "mind." "Now, mind, I told them to stop doing that. Or, as I am hearing in British TV series, "mind you." I wanted to call "you take" a byword. But it doesn't fit the Merriam Webster definition.

: : : I've not heard 'you take' in England. It does have the flavour of old England. The rural American states seem to have preserved 17th century English language and accent at least as well as here in Blighty.

: : "You take" as a subject and predicate is very well known all over English-speaking North America, as in recipes, and how-to explanations. "You take a cup of sugar. . ."

: : But ESC's great-uncles free-standing use of the phrase is something else. I don't think I've heard it, but I can't rule it out. It could be an apocopation of "You take my word for it," or it could be the start of a thought that was cut off or abandoned. I could easily believe that "You take" could be a substitute for "Postulate . . ." But the particular sentence quoted by ESC seems to defy explanation. That usage is certainly not standard American.
: : SS

: [It means "For instance ...," "For example ..." - I don't know if it's exclusive to one region, though it's certainly countrified. It crops up in the lyrics of "Bald-Headed Lena," a song by John Sebastian (at least I think he wrote it; his band was the first I heard play it). - B.]

I haven't heard "You take" used the way ESC describes. It's likely regional and perhaps generational (fading out). "Take" in that expression is consistent with the word's sense of "receive, absorb, not reject," as in "take advice" or "take seriously." ~rb