10 Interesting Spanish Verbs Related to Food and Drink
Our daily lives revolve around food and drink. We schedule business meetings, friendly hangouts, and family gatherings around food.
Cooking food and pairing it with a delicious drink is truly an art form. Therefore, some of the most important words to learn before you travel abroad are Spanish verbs about food and drink.
Whether you want to invite your new friend to get a coffee or go dancing at the local clubs, we’ve got the perfect Spanish verbs for you!
10 Fun Spanish Verbs: Food and Drink
The following list of Spanish verbs contains both formal and informal words for any occasion. To get you started using these verbs in conversation, we have included four ways of conjugating each verb. Explore each tense further with our helpful blog posts: simple present tense, subjunctive, and the near future.
Translation: to eat lunch
In English, we have only one word to use when we want to get some food: eat. We eat dinner, eat a snack, and eat breakfast. However, for each of those verb phrases, there is a different word in Spanish. Almorzar (to eat lunch) is a perfect example. Instead of literally translating “to eat lunch” as comer almuerzo, just use the verb almorzar.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Spanish sentence structure with almorzar is a bit different from the English format. Instead of saying “I ate a salad for lunch” (comí una ensalada para el almuerzo), you can say almorcé una ensalada – which literally means “I lunched a salad.” Both Spanish sentences are acceptable, but using almorzar is faster and more interesting.
I eat lunch. Yo almuerzo.
Let’s eat lunch! ¡Almorcemos!
We’re going to eat lunch. Vamos a almorzar.
I want to eat lunch. Quiero almorzar.
Translation: to drink
Several Spanish verbs exist for “drink,” but beber is the only formal one that means just “to drink.” The other verbs have multiple meanings or are slang words. If you took some introductory Spanish, this is most likely the word your teacher taught you for “to drink.” This is also the most universal drinking verb because the word for “drink,” bebida, is derived from beber.
However, beber has some more informal uses. Just as the verb drinkin English can mean to consume any liquid or specifically alcohol, beber is often used to refer to alcoholic beverages. How can you tell the difference between the uses? Look for context clues, tone of voice, and hand gestures.
¿Te gustaría algo de beber? – Would you like something to drink?
Ella bebe mucho los fines de semana. – She drinks a lot on weekends.
Can you tell which one is referring to consuming alcoholic beverages? Yes, the second one. The first sentence is most likely referring to all drinks, but the context is much more general.
I drink. Yo bebo.
Let’s drink! ¡Bebamos!
We’re going to drink. Vamos a beber.
I want to drink. Quiero beber.
Translation: to toast
A great way to start the evening is with a toast! The verb brindar can be used as “to toast” or “to drink to.”
Quiero brindar por esta ocasión. – I want to toast this occasion.
¡Brindaré por eso! – I’ll drink to that!
Look closely at the two sentences. The verb brindar must be followed by por when using it to refer to a toast. Brindar can also mean “to offer,” so watch out for context clues. If you don’t want to confuse the meanings, you can always say quiero hacer un brindis, or “I want to make a toast.”
I toast. Yo brindo.
Let’s toast! ¡Brindemos!
We’re going to toast. Vamos a brindar.
I want to toast. Quiero brindar.
Translation: to eat dinner
This is another one of those fun Spanish verbs that replaces two words in English. Instead of saying ¿qué vamos a comer para la cena? (what are we going to eat for dinner), you can shorten it to ¿qué vamos a cenar? (what are we going to “dinner?”). Again, both sentences are acceptable, but using cenar is quite common.
I eat dinner. Yo ceno.
Let’s eat dinner! ¡Cenemos!
We’re going to eat dinner. Vamos a cenar.
I want to eat dinner. Quiero cenar.
Translation: to drink
Chupar is an interesting verb with a lot of meanings, many of which are slang. In the most general, formal settings it means “to suck,” as in a lollipop. However, it is commonly used to refer to drinking alcohol. If your friends are talking about going to a bar or a celebration, you may hear this word.
Because of its multiple meanings, make sure to follow the chupar with a specific beverage, like cerveza, to avoid any confusion or unfortunate misunderstandings.
I drink beer. Yo chupo cerveza.
Let’s drink beer! ¡Chupemos cerveza!
We’re going to drink beer. Vamos a chupar cerveza.
I want to drink beer. Quiero chupar cerveza.
Translation: to eat
¡Me encanta comer! This verb is by far the most common word for eating in Spanish. While there are some more specific verbs (like almorzar and cenar), comer is used in all general situations. For example:
¿Qué quieres comer? – What do you want to eat?
No me gusta comer tarde. – I don’t like to eat late.
Gracias, pero ya comimos. – Thank you, but we already ate.
Comer and its derivative comida are some of the most essential Spanish words, especially when you’re around delicious Latin American food. If you only remember a few Spanish verbs from this list, make sure that comer is one of them.
I eat. Yo como.
Let’s eat! ¡Comamos!
We’re going to eat. Vamos a comer.
I want to eat. Quiero comer.
Translation: to eat breakfast
Our last Spanish verb that translates to a phrase in English is desayunar, or “to eat breakfast.” If you travel abroad, you will often hear the question ¿ya desayunaste?, or “did you eat breakfast already?” As you can see, this fun verb shortens the sentence greatly.
I eat breakfast. Yo desayuno.
Let’s eat breakfast! ¡Desayunemos!
We’re going to eat breakfast! Vamos a desayunar.
I want to eat breakfast. Quiero desayunar.
Translation: to drink
Pistear is another slang word for drinking alcoholic beverages in excess, mostly used in Mexico and Central America. While this one doesn’t have any hidden meanings to get confused with, it does have a negative connotation.
I drink. Yo pisteo.
Let’s drink! ¡Pisteemos!
We’re going to drink. Vamos a pistear.
I want to drink. Quiero pistear.
Translation: to drink
Both beber and tomar are the most commonly used Spanish verbs for “drink” (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages). The difference between them depends on the region, but they are generally used interchangeably. You may hear beber more in some South American countries and tomar in Central America, but both are completely acceptable and understandable.
The only thing to look out for with tomar is that it also means “to take.” Sentences like the following can be confusing if the context isn’t clear.
Yo sí lo tomo. – Yes, I will take/drink it.
Lo could refer to coffee, which would make tomar translate to “drink.” Or, lo could refer to a document, in which case tomar would mean “take.” The important thing here is to look for context clues and ask when in doubt!
I drink. Yo tomo.
Let’s drink! ¡Tomemos!
We’re going to drink. Vamos a tomar.
I want to drink. Quiero tomar.
Translation: to swallow
Tragar is the general word for “swallow,” but it can also have varied translations just like most of our other verbs on this list. As a reflexive verb, tragarse, means “to chug.” The derivative trago has to do with drinking, as well. Un trago can be a sip, a gulp, or a shot.
I swallow. Yo trago.
Let’s swallow! ¡Traguemos!
We’re going to swallow. Vamos a tragar.
I want to swallow. Quiero tragar.
Comer vs. Comerse and Tomar vs. Tomarse
If you have been around native Spanish speakers, you have probably heard them use comerse and tomarse instead of the regular comer and tomar that you learn in school. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear these words, prepare yourself because you will!
You might think that comer and comerse have different meanings because one ends in -se, but they don’t! Neither is comerse a reflexive verb as the -se might have led you to believe. Comerse and tomarse are examples of idiomatic pronominal verbs.
Pronominal verbs are basically verbs that use reflexive pronouns. Reflexive verbs fall into this category, but there are many more types. Idiomatic pronominal verbs do not need the reflexive pronouns but just use them for extra emphasis. In other words, there is absolutely no difference between me comí el pastel and comí el pastel.
Idiomatic pronominal verbs exist to add emphasis to the action taking place. Check out these sentences to see how they work.
¡Cómete las verduras! ¡Come las verduras! – Eat the vegetables!
¡Tómate el café! ¡Toma el café! – Drink the coffee!
Tengo tanto hambre que me quiero comer una vaca entera. Tengo tanto hambre que quiero comer una vaca entera. – I’m so hungry I want to eat a whole cow.
Me tomo mi café en silencio. Tomo mi café en silencio. – I drink my coffee in silence.
As you can see with the translations, there is no difference between the sentences with the reflexive pronouns and without them. The reason they are often added to the sentences is for emphasis on the person doing the action.
Now that you have this essential list of Spanish verbs, it’s time to put them into practice. You can work on them at home and practice them as you go about your day. Or, you can invite your Spanish-speaking friend out to get some coffee or a drink and try these new words and phrases! If you are planning on traveling abroad to a Spanish-speaking country, make sure to memorize this whole list because you are sure to hear each word a lot. ¡Tú puedes!
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