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What's the drink in

Buy me a drink

?

Does it mean alcoholic-drink (beer, wine or cocktail) or it could be any drink including alcoholic drinks and soft drinks like orange juice? Is this culture/region specific?

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    To the VTC'er, I think this is answerable without being opinion based. The phrase has a clear most-probable meaning with a limited scope of exceptions.
    – Tashus
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 18:44

2 Answers 2

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Buy me a drink?

This phrase is mostly a fixed expression implying an invitation to engage socially, almost like asking someone on a date. The phrase usually refers to an alcoholic beverage, but it depends on the context. In a situation where people typically do not drink alcoholic beverages, it could be used about any type of beverage. For example, one adult might say this to another adult in a school cafeteria, in which case they would clearly mean a nonalcoholic beverage. Sometimes this is done deliberately for the sake of humor.

However, if someone said this at a bar, they would probably be disappointed if the person bought them a glass of tea.

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  • This answer misses the cultural component at work in the phrase...Funny thing, I tried to provide it and was rebuked by the OP. This is what happens when people don't really realize what their question actually can convey.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 21:12
  • @Lambie It seems like they understand the phrase as a cultural one, but just want to know more about the meaning of the words used in the phrase. My answer is written with the cultural component taken into account; I just didn't explicitly mention it.
    – Tashus
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:23
  • @Lambie I have made the cultural aspect a little more clear in the answer, but I think that this is mostly to the benefit of other learners rather than of OP.
    – Tashus
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:31
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To buy someone a drink means any drink you can buy in a bar or restaurant, whether alcoholic or not.

It can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It is really more of a cultural expression or cultural gesture. You wouldn't say it in Saudi Arabia, as it may refer to alcohol. It's not the same as: Let me buy you a coffee or cup of tea.

When you buy someone a drink, you go to a bar or restaurant and sit down and talk, or stand at the bar....the point is not the alcohol or lack of it, it is the gesture.

It is often used to thank someone for something or to get to know them better. It can also be a pick-up line.

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  • I just want to ask about the drink, not picking up Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 0:34
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    Excuse me, but I was giving you the three most common cultural interpretations of this idea. I stand by my answer. And the common thing is for one person to say: May I buy you a drink? And it could even be two cokes.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 4:05

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