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Using the verb tomar for having food/drink

In Spanish we often use the verb tomar to talk about having food, meals, drinks. It is a common mistake to use the verb "tener" because of its direct translation: to have = tener 

The verb tomar is often used instead of comer (to eat) and beber (to drink).

Here are some examples:

Ayer comí un plato de arroz con pollo delicioso.Yesterday I had/ate a delicious chicken and rice dish .

Hemos bebido demasiada sidra.We have drunk too much cider.

We could also say:

Ayer tomé un plato de arroz con pollo delicioso.Yesterday I had a delicious chicken and rice dish.

Hemos tomado demasiada sidra.We have had too much cider.

We can be referring to having both food or drinks with tomar.

Here are more examples:

¿Qué quieres tomarWhat would you like to have/eat/drink? [lit: What do you want to have?]

Mi marido nunca toma cerveza. Siempre toma vino.My husband never has/drinks beer. He always has/drinks wine.

No puedo tomar mucho alcohol porque tengo que conducir.I can't drink/have a lot of alcohol because I have to drive.

¿Habéis tomado algo o tenéis el estómago vacío?Have you had something [to eat] or do you have an empty stomach?

Voy a tomar unas tapas con mi novia.I am going to have some tapas with my girlfriend.

This is a very common question in a bar or a restaurant:

¿Qué quieren tomar los señores?What would you like to have, sirs?

Remember not to use "tener" when talking about "having food/drinks".

¿Qué quieren tener los señores?
Yo siempre tengo café por la mañana.

 

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Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

¿Qué quieres tomarWhat would you like to have/eat/drink? [lit: What do you want to have?]
Hemos bebido demasiada sidra.We have drunk too much cider.
Ayer comí un plato de arroz con pollo delicioso.Yesterday I had/ate a delicious chicken and rice dish .
¿Habéis tomado algo o tenéis el estómago vacío?Have you had something [to eat] or do you have an empty stomach?
Voy a tomar unas tapas con mi novia.I am going to have some tapas with my girlfriend.
¿Qué quieren tomar los señores?What would you like to have, sirs?
No puedo tomar mucho alcohol porque tengo que conducir.I can't drink/have a lot of alcohol because I have to drive.
Hemos tomado demasiada sidra.We have had too much cider.
Mi marido nunca toma cerveza. Siempre toma vino.My husband never has/drinks beer. He always has/drinks wine.
Ayer tomé un plato de arroz con pollo delicioso.Yesterday I had a delicious chicken and rice dish.
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