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We have a TV that folds into the roof in our car and one morning, as it was folded away my son asked, "Please would you take the television down?".

I didn't think this was the correct use of the word 'take' - the TV was not being moved anywhere, just folded down for viewing. Am I correct or is my son?

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You might find these previous questions interesting: english.stackexchange.com/questions/3131/… and english.stackexchange.com/questions/5231/bring-versus-take –  Shog9 Nov 17 '11 at 4:56
    
The closest situation I can think of is a folding ladder in an attic hatch. How would you ask someone to deploy a ladder like that? –  Optimal Cynic Nov 18 '11 at 6:23
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closed as too localized by aedia λ, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Matt Эллен, simchona, kiamlaluno Nov 18 '11 at 15:39

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6 Answers

On a plane, for example, you might say "Please take my case down [from the overhead rack]".

But it could just as easily be "Please get my case down", or "get my case out". Such words can easily overlap in this context. And whilst it's probably true that we tend to associate "take" with physical relocation, a sound engineer can "take the bass down" to reduce resonance, for example.

By the same token, OP's son could have said "Get the TV out", which I suspect might have raised OP's eyebrows less. But not many people have roof-mounted TV's yet (all the ones I've seen so far are fixed into the back of the seat in front), so it's not as if we have a standard idiomatic usage for exactly this context yet.

In short, the cards are still in play as regards standard usage here, so I wouldn't like to say that OP's isn't the speech of tomorrow, today.

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The first thing that comes to my mind for "take (item X) down" is to unmount it from someplace, like a wall or a stand. So "Take the TV down" would imply "please remove the TV from its wall-mounting brackets", presumably in preparation for it to be moved elsewhere. (Taking something down is the inverse operation to setting it up.)

I think your term, fold down, quite adequately expresses the function being requested. Other alternatives could be unfold, fold out, open up, deploy, or activate.

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Thanks everyone for your help .... –  Nigel Nov 24 '11 at 8:43
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"Please take the television down" would have one of two meanings to me. The first would be to pick it up and carry it into the basement or some floor below. The second, more ridiculous one, is to take it down like you would in a football or wrestling match.

Since it is a rare device, the folding tv, I suppose 'pull it down' does make sense, as would 'flip it open' or 'open it up.'

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'Take the television down' sounds unusual to me. One of the many definitions of 'take' is to 'grasp with the hands', which is precisely what is being requested, but taking the television suggest an intention to move it from one place to another which is not really the case.

Pulling the television down sound more appropriate, or perhaps opening up the television.

I suppose you could argue the usage was acceptable because the message got across, but I would have thought that better verbs could be used.

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+1 I think I'd go with open up. –  onomatomaniak Nov 16 '11 at 11:13
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I would understand the meaning from the context. But, yes it is not being taken anywhere.

The first word to come to mind is 'pull'.

Would you pull the tv down? (As it does need to be pulled down to open.)

Another idea would be "Please open the TV."

This sounds odd because TVs are not opened of course, they are turned on, but in this case the TV is inside a closed area or spot inside the roof and it needs to be opened so the TV can be pulled down.

I am curious to see what others have to say.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts ... interesting ... –  Nigel Nov 16 '11 at 13:32
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A request to take the television down certainly implies removing it in some way. I've not come across a folding television, so I find it hard to envisage such a thing. Is it perhaps like those above the seat in an aircraft? Anyway, I'd have thought that something like Hey, dad, can I see the TV again? might get the message across.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes the TV is similar to those above the seat in aircraft so it's just the screen that folds down for viewing or up out of the way when out of use. –  Nigel Nov 16 '11 at 9:51
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