Why is it cold instead of chilly, or freezing instead of frosty or frigid, bittery or nippy? Often it is simply a choice of words, or what is in style at the time. "That's awesome" might be in style now, where maybe 50 years ago "that's groovy" was. Beyond style it might simply be another word for the same action. Andar, for example, can be used to express to walk, just like caminar. Just like words in your country are used differently in other parts of the country, it's the same in Spanish speaking countries. Pop, is used in some parts of the US, while coke can be used to express any dark soda if you live in the south (even though it is a name brand...I want a coke), and soda is used a bit in the Northeast. My girlfriend is a native Spanish speaker from Central America. When we travel to Dominica Republic or Columbia, for example, it literally is difficult for her to understand the speakers many times, due to dialect, different words, etc. And for me it is a huge challenge. I was just in Chile and there the word fresa is frutilla, still perfectly good and valid spanish word. They refer to their children as bebes while in central america we would say hijos. In dominica republic you don't ask for a balsa (bag) it is a funda. Translate both and they have quite a different meaning, but used for the same exact thing depending on the country or region you might be in. If you really want to have fun, go to youtube and search for "es dificil hablar en espanol, con ingles subtitilos" they have many more experiences then I do for how the words might change :)
I can't say for sure what the reason is but it is identical to English. For example, "Bartender, (1) I will drink a beer, (2) I will take a beer, (3) I will have a beer. Whichever you choose, the bartender will give you a beer and take your money and not stop to think about syntax or grammar.
Tomar is used for the English "to have" in the situation where you have something to eat or drink, It shouldn't really be translated as "drink", but in the context that is OK as free translation. Exactly as rspreng says, you'd use this construction as "I am going to have a beer" - you can't use tener as that is more for where you have something as in owning it, or tener que where you have to do something.
Did anyone translate this as "Thanks, I'm going to HAVE a beer?"
I started to, but I just got done re-taking an earlier lesson in which "Ellos toman vino" was used and "They have wine" was considered incorrect. I also wrote quite a long post in the comments there.
Another person argued that if "have" were correct they would have used "tienen" (tener) instead of "toman" (tomar). I obviously disagree and as I pointed out duolingo does not list "to drink" as a definition of "tomar" (see Words tab).
In fact, translating "tomar" as to take in either this context or the context of "Ellos toman vino" would be wrong unless you were speaking to a waiter/waitress.
Maybe it wouldn't technically be wrong, but it's awkward. I never say I'm going to "take" a beer. I drink beer or more usually I "have" beer (not meaning I simply possess beer but that I am drinking it.
I assume that duolingo considers "Thanks, I'm going to HAVE a beer" incorrect, but I'm now being careful to translate literally, not meaningfully which IMO is a horrible thing for a language teaching site to force upon its users.
Therefore, I "corrected" my answer to "Thank you, I'm going to TAKE a beer." Yes, thanks, but I think I'll TAKE a whole 6-pack - and shove it under my coat as I sneak out of the liquor store without paying. LOL, if I were paying for it, why doesn't it say "comprar", right?
Yes, I agree.
If someone offers you a drink and you accept, "Thanks, I'll have a beer." would be the correct response.
Although there might conceivably be some other context which could justify "Thanks, I'm going to drink a beer."
A: "I've always admired your recreational choices. What are going to do now?"
B: "Thanks, I'm going to drink a beer."
You are correct that tomar = take, and that tener = have, but sometimes direct translating is incorrect, which is the case here.. When you say "thank you, I'll take a beer" it indicates that there has been a prior discussion of what to drink, or there was a choice of different drinks.