Spanish is a rich and diverse language, with a large number of words with different meanings and uses. Among the words with more meanings, we find the polysemous verbs. Some of them we have already seen in other blog posts, in the section of Spanish verbs and words. Like, for instance: uses of the verb tocar, uses of the verb dar, uses of the verb cargar, uses of the verb quedar, as well as expressions with rollo. We have already seen all these verbs and now it is time to learn the uses of the verb tomar.

The verb tomar, as we have mentioned, is a polysemous verb that has several different meanings and uses in the Spanish language. It is a very common verb in the Spanish language, and it is likely that you have used it in different contexts without even realising it. In this text, we are going to explore the different uses of the verb tomar and how it is used in different contexts, with concrete examples that will help us to better understand its meaning and usage.

1. Tomar una decision: Meanings “to make a decision”. For example: «Después de mucho pensarlo, he tomado la decisión de dejar mi trabajo y viajar por el mundo.» ( “After much thought, I have made a decision to quit my job and travel the world”). In this example, the person has considered several options and has made a decision based on that.

2. Tomar un medicamento: Meaning “to take a medicine”. For example: «Tuve un dolor de cabeza fuerte, así que tomé un ibuprofeno» (“I had a bad headache, so I took an ibuprofen”). In this example, the person has taken a medication to relieve a pain or discomfort.

3. Tomar algo con las manos: Meaning “to hold or grasp something with the hands”. For example: «Tomé la taza de café con ambas manos para evitar quemarme» (“I picked up the cup of coffee with both hands to avoid burning myself”). In this case, the person is physically taking something with his or her hands. Although we usually say coger, the verb tomar is also accepted in this usage.

4. Tomar algo prestado: It means “to borrow, to receive something temporarily from someone with the intention of returning it”. For example: «Tomé prestado el coche de mi hermano para ir al supermercado» (“I borrowed my brother’s car to go to the supermarket”). In this case, the person is temporarily receiving something from someone else. Now you know what to say if you want to borrow something in class.

5.Tomar por sorpresa: meaning “to catch by surprise”. For example: «La noticia nos tomó por sorpresa» (“the news caught us by surprise”). In this case, the news surprised the person or a group of people. It is usually something unexpected.

6. Tomar nota: meaning “to take note”. That is, to write down or to record something to remember it later. For example: «Tomé nota de los ejercicios que el profesor nos dio en clase» (“I wrote down the exercises the teacher gave us in class”).

7. Tomar algo en cuenta: Meaning “to keep in mind, to take into account something important when making a decision”. For example: «Al elegir un nuevo trabajo, tomé en cuenta el salario y las horas de trabajo» (“In choosing a new job, I considered the salary and the hours of work”). In this case, the person is considering important factors when making a decision.

8.Tomar el pelo: meaning “to fool somebody”. For example: “Hoy he ido a comprar un coche y me han tomado el pelo” (“I went to buy a car today and I was tricked”). Here the person indicates that he or she has been fooled in some way.

9.Tomarla con alguien: This is one of the most negative aspects of the verb tomar. It is used when a person dislikes another person. Coger manía and tomarla con alguien is used in situations where one person annoys, berates or even hates another person and does everything possible to annoy them. In school classrooms it is a phrase often used by children and not so children when a teacher is trying to make a student improve and the student feels that the teacher is doing it to annoy him or her. For example, “Teacher Juan has taken it out on me and always asks me questions during class”).

10. Tomar algo: As you would expect, this is one of the meanings you will hear the most throughout Spain. The meaning of tomar algo depends a lot on who says it. In general, it means to eat or drink something. Whether it means to drink or eat something depends on the situation and the person.

In short, the verb “tomar” is a polysemous verb that can be used in different contexts, from making decisions to taking notes to fool somebody. But there are many other meanings that you may already know, such as tomar el bus, tomar en serio, tomar el aire or tomar por otra persona. Would you be able to figure out its meaning? Talk about it with your teacher in class and see if he/she can “echar un cable”.