Well technically nada can mean nothing, or anything.
In Enlgish we use two separate words (Nothing, and Anything) to make it sound like its not a double negative when we use the word Anything. Spanish simply uses the word nada in both cases. For us, "he doesnt drink nothing" and "he doesn't drink anything" presents a huge difference in terms of which sounds correct, which is why this sentence in spanish can sound a little weird to us native english speakers, however in spanish nada can take the place of either "nothing" or "anything" in the negative use of the two.
This is the second time I've seen Duolingo mistake the subjunctive form for the imperative form. Either I'm really confused (which is possible), or I'm really confused (definitely the case). References: http://conjugation.org/ http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/beber http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/formcomm.htm http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/informcomm1.htm
EDIT: I'm leaving this comment here because I'm wrong and maybe someone else will profit from my mistake. Apparently (as I have just learned) the negative-imperative-tú form is identical to the present subjunctive form, rather than simply negating the imperative tú form. I.e., the conjugation actually changes in this case, simply because it is being negated.
DL likes: Do not drink any alcohol.
DL does not like (took a heart): Do not drink any of the alcohol.
Doesn't "nada de" imply "any of"?
This unit is killing me with DL apparently rejecting perfectly good English translations. Guess I just have to memorize what DL wants for when I loose all my hearts and have to repeat this unit. Maybe it's just a matter of so many ways to express the subjunctive and imperative that DL can't catalog all of them. Sigh...
Your translation "Do not drink any of the alcohol" is incorrect because it includes the definite article. The Spanish sentence is saying not to drink any alcohol (generally), whereas yours is talking about some specific alcohol (perhaps the alcohol for the party).
The Spanish equivalent would be "No bebas nada del alcohol".
I might accept it, but I'd note that the, "Don't you [verb]!" version of a command in English is extremely forceful, possibly even rude or condescending. To get that translation from this Spanish, I'd want to see it in a context where it was clear that the speaker was really speaking that forcefully.
The difference is quite subtle.
Generally speaking "beber" refers to the literal action of ingesting a liquid, whereas "tomar", in this case, refers to the broader action of what we might call "having a drink".
If I see my friend at the bar with a bottle of beer in front of him, I might say "Mi amigo toma una cerveza" (My friend is having a beer). When he lifts the bottle to his mouth and starts consuming the beer, then I can say "Mi amigo bebe una cerveza" (My friend is drinking a beer).
Of course, just like English speakers, Spanish speakers are not always so literal and will use "beber" a bit more broadly than in the above example, but I hope it goes some way to explaining the subtle difference between the two verbs.
Good question. "Tomar" when used to describe drinking -- "Do you take coffee? Do you take wine?" -- has always seemed near-indistinguishable from beber to me, but on the other hand it does seem to be preferentially used with "adult" beverages -- coffee, wine, etc. There may be some kind of subtle implication about the psychoactive effects. It's also used to describe taking pills.
I'm pretty sure that ninguno and its variants can only be used with count nouns, not mass nouns.
In English, for a mass noun like "water", you can have "a lot of water", "a bit of water", or "no water", all without pluralizing it. But if you want to talk about something countable, it's, say, "a lot of goats".
In Spanish, you could have "un poco de agua" or "nada de agua", but you can't have "ninguna agua" unless you're speaking in a special context where the water has been made countable. Tenemos tres aguas: Evian, Perrier, y agua del grifo. We have three waters: Evian, Perrier, and tap water. No quiero ninguna agua. I don't want any (of that countable set of) waters.
I got No bebas ningún alcohol accepted just now. Maybe wrongly?
The interesting thing is what I get for ngrams for sin nada de agua and sin ninguna agua: parallel existence. Also for dinero, sin nada de and sin ningún.
Clicking through to an actual reference gets a very old, potentially poorly scanned example that I am nonetheless quite sure did not deal with Evian or its competition: ...y por la mañana seguimos nuestro camino por una tierra de piñales, despoblada y sin ninguna agua, la cual y un puerto pasamos con grandisimo trabajo y sin beber...
Maybe it is not as simple as you say?
"Beber" is an "ER" verb, so when you see an ending with an "-as" you know this is not a normal present tense conjugation.
"No bebas" is the negative imperative - I.e. a command not to drink.
If you wanted to say "You do not drink any alcohol", then you just use the regular present tense conjugations "No bebes...".
I understand the suggested translation, "Do not drink any alcohol," for, "No bebas nada de alcohol,", but then how would you say in Spanish the non-imperative sentence, "You do not drink any alcohol"? It occurs to me that it might be exactly the same; if so, do you differentiate between the (negative) imperative No bebas nada de alcohol (Do not drink any alcohol) and the simple descriptive declarative (You do not drink any alcohol) only by tone, or is there another way (perhaps, Tu no bebas nada de alcohol)?