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Tomar vs. coger

What is difference between "tomar" and "coger"?

July 6, 2019


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Play it safe and always just use tomar.

Coger is acceptable in some places, but...It has a bad meaning in a lot of places.

July 6, 2019


There is a section dedicated to that verb in this video comparing Latino and Castilian dubs.... it’s a good video explaining the difference between Latino and Castilian Spanish in general actually;



No relevant difference in Spain. Maybe some difference in places like Colombia or the Caribbean Sea. Strong difference in Mexico and the Southern Cone: tomar is to take or to drink, coger is a rude word for to have sex. No problem with escoger and recoger.


I'm not sure tomar and coger are exact synonyms, even where coger has no alternative meaning. I find agarrar to be a better substitute for coger. I find that duolingo usually accepts agarrar and offers coger as an alternative. (I don't like using coger either, because I always associated it with vulgarity.)

Tomar is a little different. It means to take (take a beverage, take a bath, take a shower, but not take a photo--that needs sacar). Agarrar/coger means grab. Grab a piece of paper, grab a bus, grab a straw, grab your chance.


but not take a photo

In Costa Rica people say "tomar una foto".


Tomar una foto is right in Chile too.


Very interesting Algarve and Chilotin. Thanks for the information. I've been to Costa Rica but not to Chile. In US public secondary school Spanish they teach "sacar una foto".

After your posts I started searching different Spanish forum and I have found that various people use sacar, tomar, and hacer fotos. The general consensus is that sacar and tomar are both correct, but that hacer is probably incorrect but still used in some parts. I had no idea. :)


We say sacar fotos more than tomar fotos, but it depends on person. I suppose "tomar" is regarded as more formal.


One word I have heard for camera in Mexico is sacafotos. I don't know how common it is but it gets used there by many people.

Regarding the OP, I have been doing the catalan course lately and I have found that "agarrar" is always accepted as a translation for the Catalan word "agafar" but with "coger" as the suggested alternative. I suppose Spaniards use the word coger without grief, but that Mexicans and other spanish speakers from the Americas have probably suggested agarrar as an alternative and it has been added as an alternative.

Every time the word coger comes up in that course there are at least a few posts in the discussion section. :)


Agarrar is a more exact equivalent of coger than tomar, as you have said. Even in figurative sense.


"agarrar", to grab..."la garra agarra", the claw grabs...interesting way to memorize the verb and learn a new word in the process


Duolingo uses some form of "tomar" in all of its Spanish-to-English translation exercises that describe taking a photo/photos.


In the Dominican Republic we say "coger" most of the time. We use "tomar" more for drinks. Now, "cogerse" has a sexual connotation in some contexts.


in some countries they are more or less synonymous but in a lot of countries coger has a rather crude meaning. When in doubt it's generally safer to use tomar

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