Take up / Take on

< Previous | Next >

Roymahboi

New Member
Spanish
Hello guys can you help me with the difference in meaning between :


1a) take up a challenge.
1b) take on a challenge.

My 1st is language Spanish and well I can't really tell the difference.
 
Last edited:
  • Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    They are close in meaning but I detect a difference nevertheless. "take up a challenge" suggests that the challenge has been posed by a person, especially verbally, whereas "take on a challenge" suggests that the challenge is more figurative in meaning, a difficult task one must accomplish. Let's see if people agree with me.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    They are close in meaning but I detect a difference nevertheless. "take up a challenge" suggests that the challenge has been posed by a person, especially verbally, whereas "take on a challenge" suggests that the challenge is more figurative in meaning, a difficult task one must accomplish. Let's see if people agree with me.
    Yes, pretty much.

    My impression is that you "take on" something burdensome and you "take up" an activity out of choice.

    Add on to that the word "challenge" which can have a variety of meanings depending on the context and you have two different phrases - "He took on the challenge of dealing with his senile mother" and "he took up the challenge of breaking the world record".
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Yes, but that's a different meaning we're dealing with.
    I don't think it is a different meaning - that's my point. The word "challenge" effectively means something different in "to take up a challenge" and "to take on a challenge", the difference of nuance is whether you view the challenge in question - in extremely broad terms - as something desirable or burdensome.
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think that the two expressions are different enough so as to not be considered the same thing. In "take up golf" and "take up a challenge" "take up" means two different, though similar, things. "Take on" doesn't generally have a submeaning that goes with "golf" or similar objects. That's just my opinion; it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you can't "take on golf".
     

    Aidanriley

    Senior Member
    English
    I agree with the "challenge" explanation, another example would be to take someone on, which means to challenge him or her.





    It's probably not very comforting, but we also have to take up on:eek:.
     
    What matters is that you can't "take on golf".
    I think you could say "take on golf," but only in a context where it was clear that the subject was taking it on as a challenge, rather than "taking it up" as a hobby:

    Having mastered tennis and squash to his satisfaction, Joe Athlete took on golf.

    You would be saying very specifically that Joe saw these sports as challenges to be conquered, and golf was the latest in the series.
     

    Roymahboi

    New Member
    Spanish
    I think you could say "take on golf," but only in a context where it was clear that the subject was taking it on as a challenge, rather than "taking it up" as a hobby:

    Having mastered tennis and squash to his satisfaction, Joe Athlete took on golf.

    You would be saying very specifically that Joe saw these sports as challenges to be conquered, and golf was the latest in the series.
    thanks, this is really helpful actually.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top