Tomar in Portuguese

Tomar in Portuguese

The Portuguese verb TOMAR can be confusing. The problems comes from the fact that it can take the meaning of to take or to drink or to consume. It's almost the same thing as beber. In general, Brazilians use tomar when talking about taking something that will become part of their being - that will change them internally. What?!!! 🤔 They'll use BEBER for plain old drinking a drink. But usually they'll say tomar when talking about a beer etc (*Because it "changes:" them internally, I suppose).

You can substitute beber for tomar when talking about a beverage and everyone will understand yoiu just fine. Just don't say, Vamos beber mafé da manhã.

They won't use it to say take a bus, take a day off, take a walk.
They will use it to say take a vitamin; take possession of something; take a punch in the stomach; take a strong cup of coffee. Things that take over your body and soul.


To take, drink, consume, occupy. You can tomar breakfast; tomar charge of something; tomar a drink; tomar medicine.

Popular phrases using TOMAR will make this clearer:

Eu sempre tomo café da manhã às 7 horas. ➜ I always eat (take) breakfast at 7.

Brazilians "take" breakfast (and coffee). They do_not "take" lunch or dinner!

Vamos tomar um banho juntos. ➜ Let's take a bath together.

*Woah! 😛

Ela tomou um susto! ➜ She was frightened!

We get scared. Brazilians "take" a fright. You can also say for example, Ela tomou um terror. (She got terrified. * Notice this is not even close to a direct translation!)

Tome seu remédio. ➜ Take your medicine.

This is a command - you don't necessarily need and "!". Commands use the imperative mood.

Nós vamos tomar um choppe depois. ➜ We're going to drink a beer afterwards.

You could have said, Nós vamos tomar um choppe mais tarde. (tarde = later). You can also use beber!

Ela vai tomar conta do projeto. ➜ She's going to take charge of the project.

tomar conta = to take account (a conta = the account/bill)

Eu tomei sopa ontem. ➜ I had soup yesterday.

We don't drink or take or eat soup! This is extremely confusing for Brazilians to get. 🤭

Você quer tomar sorvete? ➜ Do you want some ice cream?

No need for the "some". You could say though: Você quer tomar um sorvete?


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Tomar in Portuguese

Could you say, vamos beber um choppe (draft beer)? Sim, pode. You can. Can you beber um café? But Brazilians will always use TOMAR. With any other drink it's pretty common to user BEBER. I think the difference is that alcohol and caffeinated drinks are like medicine. Obviously! You always TOMAR medicine. (confusingly though, when one is drunk one is bêbedo, not tomado!) Can one tomar um táxi? Nunca!