to grab/ to take

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Senior Member

Does the verb ''to grab'' have the same meaning as ''to take''

I often hear people saying :
I will grab a sandwitch and I come back
I will grab a cab

Many thanks for youe clarification
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    No, not quite. "Grab" suggests a sudden motion; it is more like "to snatch" than "to take".

    Grandmother needed help getting across the room, so I took her arm and assisted her.

    The little boy was about to run into traffic, but his mother grabbed him by the arm just in time.

    To grab a sandwich or to grab a bite to eat suggests that the person is eating in haste, with almost no time at all to do it.

    I only had fifteen minutes between meetings, so while everyone else went to a restaurant for a leisurely lunch, I only had the time to grab a sandwich from the vending machine.

    To grab a cab implies that one is hurrying to get somewhere:

    Usually I walk to the station, but with so little time before the departure of the train, I grabbed a cab.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi All,

    I enjoyed GWB's clear explanation. I think that there is more than one meaning for grab in the two example sentences.

    For the sandwich, it would be very hard to improve on GWB's explanation.
    For the taxi, I would use grab as a synonym for take.

    A: How will you get home.
    B: I'll grab a cab.

    For me, B's remark is equivalent to "I'll take a cab." and does not need to imply haste.
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