In this short guide, we will cover the following topics for ‘tomar’ in Spanish:
- What does ‘Tomar’ mean?
- ‘Tomar’ Conjugations
- How to Use ‘Tomar’ in Spanish
- Expressions & Idioms with ‘Tomar’
- Synonyms of ‘Tomar’ in Spanish
What does ‘Tomar’ mean?
Depending on the context, in Spanish, ‘tomar’ means ‘to take’, ‘to drink’, ‘to grab’ or ‘to make’, and as a result, it can be used in a wide range of contexts. Some of them include talking about drinks, medicine, transportation and decisions.
- When talking about grabbing an object, ‘tomar’ means ‘to grab’ or ‘to take’.
- To describe people who are consuming beverages, ‘tomar’ is translated as ‘to drink’.
- When talking about taking medicine, it is the direct translation of ‘to take’.
- If describing the kind of transportation someone took to get somewhere, ‘tomar’ means ‘to take’, ‘to get’ or ‘to catch’.
- To express people’s approach to certain situations, ‘tomar’ can be translated as ‘to take’.
- ‘Tomar’ means ‘to make’ when talking about making decisions.
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In Spanish, ‘tomar’ is a regular verb. This means that the stem you’ll use to conjugate to every tense will be ‘tom’ with the exception of the future and the conditional tenses. For these tenses, you’ll have to use the infinitive form.
Present tense conjugation
|Él / Ella / Usted||Toma||He/She take|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Toman||They/You take|
Preterite tense conjugation
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tomó||He/She took|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomaron||They/You took|
Imperfect tense conjugation
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tomaba||He/She took|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomaban||They/You took|
Future tense conjugation
|Yo||Tomaré||I will take|
|Tú||Tomarás||You will take|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tomará||He/She will take|
|Nosotros||Tomaremos||We will take|
|Vosotros||Tomaráis||You will take|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomarán||They/You will take|
Conditional tense conjugation
|Yo||Tomaría||I would take|
|Tú||Tomarías||You would take|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tomará||He/She would take|
|Nosotros||Tomaremos||We would take|
|Vosotros||Tomaréis||You would take|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomarán||They/You would take|
Estoy tomando chocolate caliente.
I’m drinking hot chocolate.
Hueles a alcohol, ¿estuviste tomando?
You smell like alcohol, have you been drinking?
¿Alguna vez has tomado clases de canto?
Have you ever taken singing lessons?
Nunca he tomado el metro en mi vida.
I have never in my life taken the subway.
Tomar Subjunctive Conjugations
Present subjunctive conjugation
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tome||To take|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomen||To take|
Imperfect subjunctive conjugations
|Yo||Tomara / Tomase||I took|
|Tú||Tomaras / Tomases||You took|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Tomara / Tomase||He/She took|
|Nosotros||Tomáramos / Tomásemos||We took|
|Vosotros||Tomarais / Tomaseis||You took|
|Ustedes / Ellos / Ellas||Tomaran / Tomasen||They/You took|
Espero que te hayas tomado la medicina.
I hope you took the medicine.
Ojalá hubiera tomado más fotos del viaje.
I wish I had taken more photos of the trip.
‘Tomar’ in the imperative form uses the stem ‘tom’ but keep in mind that the negative imperative form follows the present subjunctive.
[‘Tomar’ in imperative] + [complement]
Take a seat.
Clara, toma tus cosas y vete.
Clara, grab your things and leave.
No + [‘tomar’ in present subjunctive] + [complement]
No tomes tanto refresco.
Don’t drink so much soda.
Niñas, no tomen mis cosas.
Girls, don’t take my things.
How to Use ‘Tomar’ in Spanish with Examples
There are several contexts in which you can use the verb ‘tomar’. In the next sections, I’ll explain to you what those contexts are and give you some examples to help you have a clear understanding of how to create new sentences.
- Describing that someone is grabbing something
- To talk about drinks
- Talking about ingesting medicine
- To indicate what type of transportation someone used
- Expressing people’s attitude towards something
- Talking about making decisions
Describing that someone is grabbing something
As the direct translation of ‘to take’ and ‘to grab’, in Spanish, we mostly used ‘tomar’ to describe that someone is grabbing or taking an object or another person. Below are some examples and a phrase structure that you can use as guidance.
[‘Tomar’ conjugated] + [determiner] + [noun]
Victor tomó sus cosas y se fue.
Victor took his things and left.
Tomaré un bocadillo.
I’ll grab a snack.
¿Tomaste las llaves?
Did you take the keys?
Juan me tomó de la mano.
Juan took my hand.
Notice in example #4 that when something is holding or grabbing from something or someone else, you’ll need to use prepositions.
Alice tomo a Karla de la mano.
Alice took Karla’s hand.
To talk about drinks
A very common use of the verb ‘tomar’ is to talk about drinks. In this case, when the sentence doesn’t specify the type of drink, people are usually referring to an alcoholic beverage.
[‘Tomar’ conjugated] + (complement)
Los invitados de la fiesta tomaron mucho.
The party guests drank a lot.
No, gracias, no tomo.
No, thanks, I don’t drink.
Cuando hace frío tomas mucho café.
When it is cold you drink a lot of coffee.
Talking about ingesting medicine
In Spanish, you need to use ‘tomar’ when talking about ingesting medicine and things like supplements and vitamins. As a result, in this context, this verb is also translated as ‘to take’.
[‘Tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
Tomé paracetamol para el dolor.
I took acetaminophen for the pain.
Luis toma antidepresivos desde hace 6 meses.
Luis has been taking antidepressants for 6 months.
In these contexts, ‘tomar’ is frequently used as a reflexive verb, so you will need to add reflexive pronouns before the conjugated verb.
[Reflexive pronoun] + [‘tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
¿Sabes si se tomó las pastillas anoche?
Do you know if she took the pills last night?
Me tomé dos aspirinas pero no hicieron efecto.
I took two aspirin but they didn’t work.
Tómate una pastilla cada ocho horas.
Take one pill every eight hours.
To indicate what type of transportation someone used
‘Tomar’ is also used to talk about transportation. Notice that, just like in English, ‘tomar’ is only applied to transportation means that are being driven by someone else. As a result, ‘tomar’ can be used to talk about trains, planes, taxis (or ubers), and buses but not bikes or motorcycles.
[‘Tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
Tomé el último vuelo.
I took the last flight.
Voy tarde, mejor tomo un taxi.
I’m late, I better take a taxi.
Para llegar al centro, toma este autobús.
To get downtown, take this bus.
Si tomamos autobús, va a salir más barato.
If we take the bus, it will be cheaper.
Take Note: We use ‘tomar’ to refer to taking a form of transportation when we’re the passengers. If you’re going to drive or operate the vehicle, tomar is used to let someone know (like a family member) that you’re going to use the car.
Expressing people’s attitude towards something
As the direct translation of ‘to take’, we also use ‘tomar’ to talk about someone’s attitude or emotional approach to a certain situation. In this context, you’ll need to add one or both object pronouns, depending on the elements that you want to mention in the sentence.
[Direct object pronoun] + [‘tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
Nunca te tomas nada en serio.
You never take anything seriously.
¿Por qué todo lo tomas en broma?
Why do you take everything as a joke?
Notice in the examples below that the situations that the sentences are referring to are implicit. So, in this case, you’ll need to add a direct object pronoun that will refer to that situation that all the other speakers already know about.
You’ll also need to add an indirect object pronoun to mention the person that is being affected (or not affected) by this situation.
[Indirect object pronoun] + [direct object pronoun] + [‘tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
Se lo tomó muy mal.
He took it very badly.
¿Crees que se lo tomen bien?
Do you think they will take it well?
Fue muy vergonzoso pero me lo tomé con humor.
It was very embarrassing but I took it with humor.
Talking about making decisions
In Spanish, we don’t use the verb ‘hacer’, like you’d do in English, to talk about making choices and decisions. Instead, we use the verb ‘tomar’ which in this case is the direct translation of ‘to make’. Check the examples below so you understand how to apply this meaning correctly.
[‘Tomar’ conjugated] + [complement]
Creo que tomamos la decisión correcta.
I think we made the right choice.
Él siempre toma malas decisiones.
He always makes bad decisions.
El gobierno tomó la decisión de prohibir la marihuana.
The government made the decision to ban marijuana.
Tomar Expressions & Idioms
An important part of improving your Spanish is understanding expressions and idioms, so here are some of the most used ones to help you have an authentic approach to the language.
Tomar al toro por los cuernos refers to handling a situation in a direct way and without hesitation. It means ‘to take the bull by its horns’.
Tomar el pelo is used to express a person tricking or fooling someone else. It could be translated as ‘to trick’ ‘to fool’ or ‘to tease’.
Tomar a pecho describes that a person takes something very serious and it usually has a negative connotation. It can be translated as ‘to take something to heart’.
Synonyms of ‘Tomar’ in Spanish
Beber means ‘to drink’. Although it’s also a standard term, people may use ‘tomar’ more often when referring to drinking something.
Agarrar is translated as ‘to grab’. ‘Agarrar’ is a little bit more casual than ‘tomar’ so it is very frequently used.
Ingerir is the direct translation of ‘to ingest’. It’s more commonly used in medical contexts.
Decidir is the direct translation of ‘to decide’. So, just like in English, in Spanish this verb is formally used when talking about choosing or making decisions.
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