English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Please tell me, is there any difference when saying take his photo and take a photo of him? To me, the first one sounds awkward.

share|improve this question
A native speaker (AmE at least) would say, "Take his picture" instead. – Jim May 11 '12 at 7:23

"Take his photo" implies to me that it could be for a specific purpose or part of a process (for a journalistic reason, for documenting something, etc.):

The police took his photo, then took his fingerprints.

Last week at school, they took my photo for the yearbook.

"Take a photo of him" is used when it's done more in the casual, spontaneous sense of photography:

We took a photo of the protesters during the demonstration.

share|improve this answer

Both are possible, depending on context. In BrEng both 'picture' and 'photo' occur (but you don't often hear 'snap' any more.)

share|improve this answer
True but, whereas "take a photo of him" necessarily indicates that the object of the image is this unidentified man, "take his photo" may also mean "an image which belongs to him or which he has taken" but which shows something completely different. Am I wrong about it? – Paola May 11 '12 at 10:37
@Paola: Yes, but only context would tell which was intended. – Barrie England May 11 '12 at 11:57
You are correct, @Paola, but the most likely usage for "take his photo" is the act of using a camera, not carrying a print away from him. Likewise when you "take a shower", you could always be a plumber delivering some bathroom fixtures, but more likely you're just getting cleaned up. – JeffSahol May 11 '12 at 11:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.