I have the idea that we need to say "I took (not drank) my tea (or coffee) . . ." because we consume these beverages hot.

If my idea is true, should we use take even when referring to cold tea or coffee?

  • 9
    You can (in the US) say "drink" for any beverage, hot or cold. Saying "take" would be viewed as a bit of an affectation, except when being asked, eg, "How do you take your coffee?" (Ie, do you want cream and sugar?)
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 9, 2016 at 2:51
  • Here on SEA, it seems quite common to 'take' food, and conversely 'eat' medicine. Feb 9, 2016 at 4:35
  • 2
    At least in American, one drinks beverages - hot or cold is immaterial - eats foods, and but takes solid or liquid medicines.
    – jamesqf
    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:37
  • 1
    Eating implies chewing. I suppose one could eat flintstones chewable vitamins. Don't recommend doing that with aspirin. Feb 9, 2016 at 4:41
  • @RoaringFish I disagree. I don't think all countries in SEA are the same in this respect. For example, in my first language (Thai), we can กิน ("eat"), ทาน (sort of a hybrid of "eat" + "give"), รับประทาน (sort of "receive"), but don't "take". We can either กิน ("eat") or ดื่ม ("drink") any kind of liquid, though in a more formal occasion, ดื่ม ("drink") is preferred. (No "have" equivalent.) And one can use รับ (sort of "receive" or "take") when one wants to offer food or beverage to another person. And it's best for learners, IMHO, to think that any of those is not related to English at all. Feb 10, 2016 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


Any liquid can use "drink". Even dangerous things. Temperature does not matter.

Coke, tea, water, bleach, milk, juice, ...

"take" is either used literally, or to refer to the consumption of medicine.

Take some Tylenol. I hope it will make you feel better.

Food often uses "eat".

I ate sausages, he eats corn, Manny is eating yogurt, Jacqueline had eaten a large turkey, ...

Any food/drinks also often use "have" to refer to their consumption:

had breakfast, had a glass of water, had some tea, will have ice cream, have steak for dinner, had some cereal, will have a coke, have hot chocolate, ...

  • I believe "take" is also used when you buy something (e.g. "I took a cup of coffee at the gas station")
    – Alissa
    Feb 10, 2016 at 13:56
  • Odd, I haven't encountered that. I thought "buy" was used in those cases. (Canadian here.) Feb 10, 2016 at 13:57
  • I'm not sure, but I heard it somewhere. And the dictionary I use ( slovari.yandex.ru/take/… , it's English-Russian but there are examples) shows that "take" can mean "buy" and "choose"
    – Alissa
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:04
  • 1
    American here, I've heard take before, but buy is more common.
    – bjb568
    Feb 11, 2016 at 0:36
  • 1
    I take my tea with milk and sugar.
    – user230
    Feb 11, 2016 at 0:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .