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How to say “take” in Spanish

What’s the difference between Tomar and Llevar in Spanish? Let’s learn these two verbs that both mean “take” but are used in different ways. We’ll get a variety of practice using these new verbs in a variety of Spanish sentences.

Full Podcast Episode


Toma esto.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn two Spanish verbs that both mean “take”.

The first verb, Tomar, refers specifically to the action of taking something. Imagine using your hand to pick something up off a table. That action is Tomar.

But in English, sometimes we talk about “taking” something in a different sense. For example:

I’m going to take my things to his house.

When we say “take” here, we’re not talking about grabbing something and taking possession of it. Instead, it means something more like “bringing”, as in “bringing” something from one place to another place.

This other verb is Llevar, spelled l-l-e-v-a-r. Llevar. So here’s that sentence in Spanish:

Voy a llevar mis cosas a su casa.

And actually, Llevar can refer pretty broadly to many different types of actions related to bringing or bearing something. In fact, even wearing clothes can involve the verb Llevar. For example:

He had to wear other clothes at the party.

Tuvo que llevar otra ropa en la fiesta.

Previously we learned that we can use Ponerse to describe the action of putting on clothes. But Llevar refers more to the ongoing action of wearing them. So for example:

I'm going to put on these clothes and wear them all day.

Voy a ponerme esta ropa y llevarla todo el día.

So here, the verb Llevar is used to refer to the idea of wearing these clothes all day, kind of like taking them around wherever you go.

And then Tomar also has an additional meaning: It can sometimes refer to drinking something. So for example:

How do you like to take your coffee?

¿Cómo te gusta tomar tu café?

So even in English, we sometimes refer to drinking using the verb for taking. In Spanish, Tomar can be used this way.

So in summary, Tomar involves the action of taking something into your possession, or sometimes into your body. And Llevar involves the ongoing bearing or bringing of something. Both of these verbs can mean “take”, but in different senses, and each of them has some additional uses: “to drink” for Tomar and “to wear” for Llevar.

Let’s get some practice choosing between these verbs. For now, we’ll just quiz with the infinitives, llevar and tomar.

Are you going to take what is on the table?

¿Vas a tomar lo que está en la mesa?

Can you take all these things to the party tonight?

¿Puedes llevar todas estas cosas a la fiesta esta noche?

Do you want to drink a coffee with me tomorrow afternoon?

¿Quieres tomar un café conmigo mañana por la tarde?

You have to take this to that place or I’m going to go crazy(f).

Tienes que llevar esto a ese lugar o me voy a volver loca.

We’re going to take the twenty things that are there.

Vamos a tomar las veinte cosas que están ahí.

She wants to wear those clothes because the party is very important.

Ella quiere llevar esa ropa porque la fiesta es muy importante.

All right, now let’s start practicing conjugating these verbs. Both verbs are conjugated exactly like Hablar, so I’m going to go ahead and just throw a variety of different forms at you. To make this a little easier, let’s start by only practicing sentences that use Tomar. Try to predict the Spanish.

They are going to do it when I take what is mine.

Lo van a hacer cuando yo tome lo que es mío.

Take this, you can do it because you know the order of the things.

Toma esto, tú puedes hacerlo porque sabes el orden de las cosas.

He drinks coffee every morning, but I can’t drink anything.

Él toma café todas las mañanas, pero yo no puedo tomar nada.

He took those things too because he saw I was taking them.

Tomó esas cosas también porque vio que yo las estaba tomando.

We want him to drink a lot of water during these days.

Queremos que tome mucha agua durante estos días.

All right, now let’s do the same thing with Llevar. Again, there are going to be a variety of forms and uses of Llevar here, but it’s conjugated exactly like Hablar, so you *should* be able to predict the Spanish.

I won’t take anything tomorrow.

Yo no llevaré nada mañana.

Take all this to your house, he already took the other things.

Lleva todo esto a tu casa, él ya llevó las otras cosas.

I’m not taking anything, but the rest of the people are going to take it.

Yo no llevo nada, pero el resto de las personas lo va a llevar.

You always take those twenty things to school. Do you need them?

Siempre llevas esas veinte cosas a la escuela. ¿Las necesitas?

It’s clear that he’s taking that far away because those people are about to arrive.

Está claro que lleva eso lejos porque esas personas están por llegar.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/156. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz. This quiz will be a bit shorter than usual, but it will be tricky because we’re going to shuffle up a bunch of uses of both Tomar and Llevar.

He drinks coffee while I’m looking for them.

Toma café mientras yo los estoy buscando.

This week’s average is eighteen or nineteen.

La media de esta semana es dieciocho o diecinueve.

Can you look for it while I take the kids there?

¿Lo puedes buscar mientras yo llevo a los chicos ahí?

Everything is in order, you don’t have to go crazy.

Todo está en orden, no tienes que volverte loco.

Seventeen is half of the length you need.

Diecisiete es la mitad del largo que necesitas.

Take this; I don’t need it anymore because he comes back at half past two.

Toma esto, ya no lo necesito porque él vuelve a las dos y media.

He took the nineteen kids to school.

Llevó a los diecinueve chicos a la escuela.

These things are yet to come.

Estas cosas están por venir.

I’ll take those sixteen things to another place.

Llevaré esas dieciséis cosas a otro lado.

I want him to drink whatever he wants to drink.

Quiero que tome lo que quiera tomar.

We had a drop that week and now there are only sixteen people.

Tuvimos una baja esa semana y ahora hay solo dieciséis personas.

We’re going to come back soon.

Vamos a volver pronto.

Can you take these eighteen books to your house?

¿Puedes llevar estos dieciocho libros a tu casa?

Take that over there, we’re not drinking it.

Lleva eso para allá, no lo estamos tomando.

You always wear the same clothes she’s wearing.

Siempre llevas la misma ropa que ella lleva.

They want me to drink what he drank.

Quieren que tome lo que él tomó.

They are going to arrive in seventeen minutes.

Van a llegar en diecisiete minutos.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/156.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn the verb that’s used to talk about meeting or knowing people.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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