Is it grammatically correct to say take some shots"?"

Standing alone like it is, there isn't enough information to decide whether "take some shots" is used grammatically or not. This is simply a construction of verb-adjective-noun, and just about any other verb-adjective-noun construction can find its way into proper grammar: "praise blue heaven", "scatter mindless probes", "eat plaid oysters", and so on. Whether "take some shots" is grammatical depends upon how it is used in a sentence. For example, when a basketball team warms up before a game, they take some shots at the basket.

What's interesting about the phrase "take some shots," though, is that it belongs to a class of rare words variously called contronyms, antagonyms, or autantonyms — words that are their own antonyms. More correctly, they are homographs (words that are spelled the same) that are also antonyms (words that are opposite in meaning).

To get a grasp of contronyms, consider how the words dust and fast are used in these examples:

  • Please dust the lemon bars with confectioner's sugar while I dust the dining room table.
  • Even with his left paw tied fast behind his back, the courageous lion's fast right paw dispatched the flying monkeys with ease.

In the first sentence, dust means both to cover with fine particles and to remove fine particles. In the second sentence, fast means both not easily moved and moving quickly.

"Take some shots" can be the same way. The deciding factor is what preposition follows the phrase:

  • Mitt Romney is taking some shots at Huckabee by using a lighthearted ad parodying Chuck Norris.
  • John McCain is taking some shots from conservatives after his explanation of his foreign policy.

All politics aside, "taking some shots" can mean either that you're doing the "shooting" or that you're being "shot at"; it all depends on context.