Expression: To Take The Bait

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you to use the expression TO TAKE THE BAIT like a native.


Expression: To Take The Bait

  • Red text = Variants of today’s expression
  • Blue text = Aussie Slang
  • Gold text = Synonyms for today’s expression
  • Black text = Episode vocab

G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I’m going to be teaching the expression to take the bait.

So, the expression to take the bait is quite often used in English. I mean, this is the kind of expression that I would use quite a bit, that I hear quite a bit in Australian English, and it kind of surpasses all kinds of English. So, you’re going to hear it in American English, English English, Canadian English, New Zealand English, Australian English. It’s a very common and ubiquitous kind of expression that’s used by all kinds of natives all over the world.

So, let’s define the words in the expression to take the bait.

We’ll start with the noun the bait, bait, a bait, the bait. Bait is food that is placed on a hook or in a net or some kind of trap that’s used in order to lure in an animal and then catch it. So, if you go fishing, you know, you cast out the BAIT on a hook with often a sinker above the hook or below the hook as well depending on how you’ve set up your tackle on your fishing rod, and you’re hoping that a squid or a fish, whatever it is that you’re trying to catch whilst finishing, grabs onto that bait. So, you’re hoping that they literally take the bait.

And the verb to take in this sense can mean here to eat, to swallow, to bite onto the bait. So, like a fish coming across the bait that you’ve got on a hook or in some kind of trap, and taking that bait, biting it, swallowing it, eating it, you’re hoping that that fish takes the bait.

But then there’s also that idea of to take as in to accept, to take something from someone you’re accepting it. They’re giving it to you, you’re taking it.

So, the definition of to take the bait, when we put this sentence together, if someone takes the bait it’s to accept something that was offered to get you to do something. So, it’s when you accept something, you take something that was offered to you, often bait, and it gets you to do something. And I might add too that it’s the idea of doing something or using something in order to sort of trick someone into doing something that you want them to do that may not necessarily be something that they want to do. So, that’s the idea of using bait in this sense. If you’re using bait it’s in order to sort of literally catch an animal that obviously doesn’t want to be caught. So, you’re using food that it would like but the food is there as a bait, it’s there to trick the animal into coming into the trap or biting the hook and obviously doing something it doesn’t want, which is being caught.

So, when you use this phrase to say that someone has taken the bait or you’re trying to get someone to take the bait it’s often trying to trick that person into doing something that is not necessarily in their best interest. So, not necessarily that they would want to do if they knew the full circumstance or the full circumstances.

So, let’s go through some examples guys.

Ok, number 1. Imagine that you’re hunting an animal. So, imagine that there is a pest species in your local park, say a squirrel. So, in Australia we don’t have squirrels. If you had… somehow they had escaped out of the zoo and they were living in the park across the street from the zoo and you’ve got someone going in there to try and catch them, you could say that he’s set up traps and he’s put BAIT inside of these wire metal traps, and if the animals go in the door at the back shuts and they get trapped in the traps and they can be taken back to the zoo. So, imagine that this pest controller or this hunter, this guy who’s gone out to catch these pest squirrels has set up all of these traps, he’s hoping at the end of the day that all of the squirrels that have escaped into the park, they’ve escaped out of the zoo and they’re living in the park now wild, he’s hoping that they take the bait. He’s hoping that each one of these traps is going to be successful in catching one of these animals by luring in one of these animals, hoping they go into the trap, take the bait, bite the bait, swallow the bait, grab the bait, and the door shuts and traps them there so that they can be taken back. So, that’s one example where we could literally use this phrase of hoping that something literally takes the bait in a trap. So, it’s fooled, it’s lured in, it’s tricked into taking the bait and getting trapped, which is obviously something that it doesn’t want. So, that’s example number 1.

Example number 2. Imagine that you are a chess player. And chess is that game with I think 64 squares. You’ll have like black and white squares in alternating succession, in alternating patterns across a checkered board. And you have, I don’t know the exact number, but you have all of those pieces. So, you’ve got like rooks, that first row of rooks, and then… actually, sorry, the first row is pawns. The first row is pawns. The rooks or the castles are the ones on the end. And you’ve got the horses, the bishops, and then the king and the queen. So, that’s the game of chess, you know, it’s a strategy game where two people play it. One’s white and one’s black, and you’re effectively trying to take the king of the other person, trap the king, you’re wanting to checkmate that person and win the game of chess.

So, imagine that you’re playing this game of chess with someone and you’re trying to trick them into doing a certain thing, making a certain move to actually open up their king so that you can check mate them and win. So, you’re trying to lure them in and hoping that they take the bait. So, imagine that you’ve set up some kind of arrangement of your pieces that makes you look weak, but you know that actually you’re going to be able to checkmate the opponent if he takes the bait, if he gets lured in, if he’s tricked, if he does a certain action and opens himself up for you to be able to make a certain movement, do a certain movement and trick the guy, and checkmate the guy. If he does what you want him to without knowing it though that’s him taking the bait. And the bait in this example would be, say you’ve exposed a certain piece. So, in chess, for example, everyone’s always worried about losing their queen, you know, everyone doesn’t want to get checkmated and lose their king, obviously, ‘cause the game’s over, but prior to that, at least for the novice, for the person who doesn’t know the game incredibly well, the most important piece that everyone seems to always want to protect is the queen, the queen. And so, imagine that you’ve opened it up and you’ve made your queen look incredibly exposed and that he can… your opponent can take your queen easily. He takes your queen and then all of a sudden you make a movement and checkmate. You could say when he takes your queen that he has taken the bait, that you’ve tricked him and then you’ve won. So, that’s a good example of him taking the bait.

Example number 3. This is more a figurative one as well. Imagine that you have a father who’s about to have his 60th birthday. And this is the case with my father actually. Well, at least his 60th birthday’s in this year, 2017. But, imagine that you’re trying to set up a surprise party for your father. You don’t want him to know that you’re going to have a surprise birthday party. So, a surprise birthday party where you invite all over… you invite over all of your friends, you get all of the cake and food and drinks, everything, set up in your house or wherever it is that you’re having the party. You have all of the family come over and you hide in the room, you know. He’s going to come in and you’re all going to jump out and yell out “Surprise! Surprise! Happy birthday!”. In order to get him to go out and do something, to be away while you’re setting up the party, because he would know otherwise, you need to sort of trick him and lure him out to go and do something. So, imagine that you ask him to go to the shops to get some snags, some sausages or some lamb chops or something because you want to have “a small barbecue tonight”, you know. “Hey dad, it’s your birthday. Let’s just have a small gathering. Just, you know, me, my sister, mum and you. We’ll have a small barbecue. Can you go get some meat? Can you go up to the shops. Can you go to Woolies or Coles.” Those are the two different chains that you’ll most often see in Australia, Woolies and Coles. “Can you head up to Woolies and Coles, go down the shops and get some meat, some snags, sausages and some lamb chops for tonight.”. So, you’ve tricked him, he’s gone out and then just as he leaves and goes out to the shops everyone comes over. You get ready, you’ve got all your food out, you get all your drinks set up, you get your presents set up, all the family’s there, friends are there, and then as soon as he gets back you all yell out, you know, “Surprise! Happy birthday! Happy 60th!”.

So, if he were to go to the shops and do what you’ve asked him to do that is when you could say he’s taken the bait. He’s taken the bait, he’s been tricked, we’ve lured him away from the home so that everyone can come over, hes taken the bait. And you could ring everyone up and be like, “He’s just gone. He’s gone to the shops. He took the bait. We asked him to go get some snags and some lamb and some meat and everything for the barbie. He’s gone out and he’s done it. He’s taken the bait. He believed it. He’s been tricked. He’s been lured away. It’s safe to come over. He’s taken the bait.

So, hopefully by now guys you get the phrase to take the bait, and hopefully you’ll be able to use this yourselves whenever you’re speaking English.

And, to end up let’s just do a substitution exercise guys where in this substitution exercise the sentence that I’m going to be using is going to be along the lines of, “Did I take the bait?” and I’m going to conjugate this through all the different pronouns, but I’m going to get you to substitute take the bait for fall for it. So, if you fall for something it means that you’ve been tricked by something. So, if your dad got lured out, like in that last example to the shops, he fell for it. You know, you’ve tricked him to go out so that he does something, he fell for something, he’s falling for something, I wanted him to fall for something.

So, we’ll go through this substitution exercise, guys. The first sentence I’ll say, for example, “Did I fall for it?” and then you’ll substitute in “Did I take the bait?”. And so, we’ll go through like that and you’ll associate taking the bait with falling for something. So, you get to learn two things at once.

Let’s go!

Substitution exercise:

Did I fall for it?


Did you fall for it?


Did he fall for it?


Did she fall for it?


Did we fall for it?


Did they fall for it?


All answers below in the Answers section.


So, that’s it for today guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you can now use the phrase to take the bait, and I’ll see you in the next one. All the best!


Substitution Exercise Answers:

  1. Did I take the bait?
  2. Did you take the bait?
  3. Did he take the bait?
  4. Did she take the bait?
  5. Did we take the bait?
  6. Did they take the bait?

Additional exercises + tips in the FREE EXAMPLE PDF of this transcript

Click here

itunes-logo (1)
spotify-small (1) (1)
icon-stitcher (1)

Get more out of every episode!

Here's what you get when you sign up!

  • Read while you listen using the Premium Podcast player.
  • Understand every word in every episode.
  • Download all PDF transcripts and MP3s for 600+ episodes.
  • Get access to bonus member-only episodes.

Download my eBook!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Recent Podcast Episodes

    Related Articles


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Download on Android or iPhone below!

    Ready to test your knowledge of some English expressions?

    Start Now