The following sentence comes from Charles Fennyhough's The Voices Within: The History and Science of How we Talk to Ourselves:

Take the time Adam was talking to a member of his mental health team and saying, ‘I would be terrified to be a schizophrenic’.

I don't understand what starting a sentence with "take the time" means. Could you help me please?

  • 2
    It means "Think of the time when Adam was talking...". The first take is used in the same way as "Take, for example, this boat. It is yellow."
    – oerkelens
    Jun 11 '18 at 11:58
  • 1
    To be clear, "take the time" has at least two distinct meanings, which I think is causing the OP's confusion. This sentence is not using the "spend enough time [to do something well]" meaning, but can be paraphrased as "Consider the occasion Adam was talking..."
    – JonLarby
    Jun 11 '18 at 16:32
  • Tske, for instance, that time when Adam was talking ...
    – Jim
    Jun 11 '18 at 18:08
  • Yeah that's a garden-path sentence alright. Tripped me up as well.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 11 '18 at 18:55

"Take" in this usage means "consider," as @oerkelens commented.

This is distinct from a more common meaning of "take the time" which usually means "spend the time" as @JonLarby commented.

And as @Jim commented, it's easiest to think of "consider" if you include the implied "for instance" and that "the time when" is implying a specific instance that might more clearly be referred to as "that time when." With these implications explicitly spelled out as @Jim did, you get "Take, for instance, that time when Adam was talking..."

FYI, there's a related question about punctuating this usage of "take" as "consider."

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