I took all the water in my mouth.

Which thing below does this sentence mean?

  1. "I filled and kept the water in my mouth."
  2. "I swallowed the water down."
  3. It can be either depends on the context.
  • 1
    It's a rather odd thing to say. If you just meant I drank all the water that's what you'd say (and there's no need to mention mouth, since that's the only way you can drink). Maybe you could mean #1, but I can't really imagine the context. Apr 14, 2019 at 17:36
  • 1
    As I had no other means of doing so, I had to transport the water in my mouth. That's the only context I can think of where you would not be talking about drinking it. And the phrasing of the sentence is much different. (You would not express that sentiment in the way you did. At the very least you would use into rather than in.) Apr 14, 2019 at 17:40
  • @JasonBassford: Okay, that's a credible (if contrived) context. In which case I absolutely agree that into would be more likely. But what if it was marbles rather than water? And maybe the speaker was talking about his attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records for "Most marbles held in mouth" (after taking the marbles out, obviously! :) Apr 14, 2019 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


It simply means that the person let the water go into his or her mouth and held it there. It doesn't say what the person did with the water after it was all in his or her mouth. It doesn't mean that the person drank the water and would probably only be used in situations where the person didn't drink the water, at least not right away. If the person were drinking it right away they would probably just say they drank it.

The verb 'took' can be used in a couple of different types of situations.

It could be that there was some outside agent that was putting the water into the person's mouth. This verb can be used this way when a person receives something that is either given to them or forced on them by circumstances. In this case there might be a good reason why they didn't want to drink it and kept it in their mouth instead.

I took a blow to the head.
He took one for the team.
I took all the water in my mouth when he threw the cup in my face, but didn't swallow it because it was so dirty.

'Took' could also be used when the person wanted to have the water in his or her mouth, for some reason. In this case we would expect something in the context to explain the reason for having the water in their mouth, or what they did with the water.

I took the all the water in my mouth and spit it into my friend's face.
I took all the water in my mouth for a moment to enjoy its coolness before swallowing it.

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