Tomar vs beber?

What is the difference between tomar and beber?

April 5, 2014


I work with several bilingual co-workers and asked them about this today. All 5 said they have never used beber for drink of any type. They all said they use tomar and that beber just sounded weird to them. They did all agree they knew beber and that it means to drink, but none actually use that word at all.

*I am in central California.

April 9, 2016

"beber" is to drink, only liquid or fluid (water, beer, wine, juice, coffee..).. but "tomar" sometimes can be a solid food (ice cream, cake, snack). "beber" is more to drink to satisfy thrirst and "tomar" to emphasize the type of cup.

Tomar means to take, beber to drink. So if you're a waiter and you ask, "desean tomar?" you're asking the people what they want to eat and drink, but if you say "desean beber?" you are asking specifically about drinks. If you were speaking about what happened: he drank beer, she drank tea, it wouldn't matter which you used I don't think.

They mean the same, is more about their common use. When you say "beber" there's always liquor involved in the meaning, when you say "tomar" is everything else (remember "tomar" also referes to grab or take something). Again, this is only their common use.

Where I have been in Mexico and among the Spanish speakers I know in the USA 'tomar' is used for all beverages, regardless of alcohol content. A server may ask what 'bebida' you want, and the specific act of swallowing a liquid like medicine is beber, but tomar is used for consuming a beverage. Servers use 'tomar' to ask me what I'll drink and 'ordenar" for what food I want to order. If you ask a man what he was doing Friday night he'll say he was "tomando,' not bebiendo,' in my experience, even if it was cerveza o tequila.

Where I come from to grab or to take it's cojer, and escojer it's to choose, and tomar can be anything ,to take for your self, as tomarse unas vacaciones ,or tomar un tiempo libre ,or tomarse un café, or tomar el sol.

Yeah! I agree with you. But it's coger (with G)

Yes you are very correct, that was a fast touch of the key by mistake and thanks for pointing that I know the rules Gue and Gui is ga and gi without the U the sound is Je and Ji sorry for touching the wrong key, and now that I think about it, it meant something different in the Latin American countries , but not in Spain, and that's for sure, thanks again to point my mistake

You're welcome. Here in Colombia (in Ecuador as well, but I'm not totally sure), coger actually means the same as in Spain.

Here we also use it, with no other meaning, those phrases you've said are always used here (except the first one). I'm tired that in movies' latin dubbing always it's agarrar instead coger, it seems like they have claws instead hands, but what can I do?

For sexual meaning there are some other words we prefer. So, please don't generalize

In Mexico and Argentina to 'coger' is to have sex. Say you are going to 'coger' a bus and you'll get looks and giggles.

Soy Mexicana pero vivo en usa.. and for me is the same.. bebo agua que tomo agua ..

you can use both for "drink", but "tomar" also means "to take" depending on the context

I agree with rspreng: in Mexico, waiters ask me, "¿qué vas a tomar", meaning what would you like to drink; and you "tomar un camión", never "coger" one (unless you're really, really weird)!

Tomar is to take , so the waiter will ask " what will you take "and you answer " I will take a beer". Same in French nobody says boire except to describe drinking itself , they will say in translation what will you take , what would you like or what do you want but in the polite for ( Vous)

Here in Ecuador tomar is used for non-alcoholic drinks, beber for alcoholic drinks, tomar for taking medication (tablets) and coger for taking something, but has also just become a teenagers slang word for having sex. This seems to be pretty much the accepted use in most of the areas I have travelled in.

I hate to be "geeky" here, but I have noticed the use of both verbs in the respective situations. As an aside I always thought tomar was Spanglish.

So here goes:

So, whether you use tomar or beber you would conjugate the verb respective to each infinitive?

Could someone please list for me how to properly use tomar with all pronouns?

I am so confused :-|

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