Does Esperanto distinguish between the exclusive and inclusive or's? As in, "or" to distinguish between coffee and tea, and "or" to ask whether they drink either coffee or tea or both.
Why wouldn't "what do you drink, tea or coffee" be correct? It was marked wrong for me.
Because that would be a translation of "Kion vi trinkas, teon aŭ kafon?".
They are different things.
So even though the question of "what" doesn't actually appear in the English sentence, it is mandatory in Esperanto, right? Wouldn't "Vi trinkas teon aŭ kafon?" be enough? Thanks!
I'm not sure what your first question means.
Maybe you think that "ĉu" means "what"? It does not; it's just a particle to make yes-no or choice questions.
So "Vi trinkas teon aŭ kafon?" is not enough - it has to be "Ĉu vi trinkas teon aŭ kafon?" for "Do you drink tea or coffee?" / "Are you drinking tea or coffee?"
And that can be either a yes-no question ("Is it true that you are drinking either tea or coffee?") or a choice question ("Are you drinking tea? Or are you drinking coffee? Please tell me which of the two it is.").
' Cxu' is best simply regarded as a marker, rather like "Est-ce que" in French or upside down "?" in Spanish. 'What I say next is a question', rather than a single word needing translation.
Trinki is to drink anything. Drinki implies drinking alcohol and with the purpose of getting drunk.