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Thread: Nuance Question

  1. #1
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    mountain of peaches and fruit

    Default Nuance Question

    JTE wanted to know about the difference between 'take a look (at)' and 'Look at'.

    I told her:

    - Take a look is an American idiotmatic expression that is now used outside the US
    - Take a look has a more casual and friendly edge to it
    - Look at is usually more directive

    She wants to know if it's the same as 'take a walk' and 'take a shower'. I told her that where I'm from we 'have a shower' and 'go for a walk'. She was most dissatisfied.

    No need for a grammar explanation I can do that but what's your understanding of the nuance?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I see "take a walk" and "take a shower" as an order. Like you should "take a walk" and cool down. You should "take a shower" cause you stink.
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  3. #3


    Right, but on the other hand you still can say "I take a shower in the morning" or "I take a walk when I'm feeling energetic".

    You're right though Dombay, it does seem really American and we say the same things (go for a walk and have a shower).

    I reckon you're spot on with the directive explanation.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jacqui's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Urasoe, Okinawa


    I think they're pretty much the same thing, but "take" is more American.

    I say take with both quite a lot.
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  5. #5
    &%$#@!!! Timoshi's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Noto Peninsula! Ishikawa


    Adding to what's been said.

    'Take a look' may imply that there is something worth looking at. While 'look at' is more directive, as you've said.

    In other words, 'take a look' would be the words you'd use to encourage someone but 'look at' is a basic command, of sorts.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member saritajuanita's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Chicago ---> NW Kyushu


    would you agree that "take a look" and "have a look" are similar, if not the same?

    explain it to her as 見てみて vs. 見て

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    To me the difference is 'take' is a more commanding way of saying it.....while 'have' is more often an offer.
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  8. #8
    Has no witty title Hoonta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tampa, Florida - United States


    Hmm, it all depends on the context.

    "Look at those numbers when you get a chance" compared to "take a look at those numbers when you get a chance", I would say the latter as not being as urgent.

    "have a look" I would feel as being more of an optional order rather than a direct order.

    Dombay, I think your explanation was fine. Now as far as the "take a shower" compared to "take a look", not sure how to explain that one.
    I guess the whole "it is just that way because it is English(american) won't cut it.

    My Japanese teacher has explained things as being "because it is Japanese" and I was fine with that

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