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Using 'Beber'

Verb Nearly Always Means 'To Drink'


Soft drink bottle

Me gustaría beber un refresco de limón. (I'd like to drink a lime-flavored soft drink.)

Photo by El Gran Dee; licensed via Creative Commons.

Beber is the usual equivalent of the English verb "to drink" and is nearly always used to refer to the ingestion of a liquid. Like the English verb, beber in context can be used to refer specifically to the drinking of alcohol. Here are some examples of the verb in use:

  • Si bebes agua fría quemas mas calorías. If you drink cold water you burn more calories.
  • Bebieron dos tazas de té antes de cada comida. They drank two cups of tea before each meal.
  • En años recientes, se han incrementado las penalidades por beber y manejar. In recent years, the penalties for drinking and driving have been increased.
  • La mayoría bebimos leche a diario cuando éramos niños sin ningún problema. Most of us drank milk daily when we were children without any problem.
  • No puedo beber por el resto de mi vida. I can't drink for the rest of my life.

Although beber can be used figuratively to refer to the "drinking in" of advice or information, such use is less common in Spanish than it is in English. Beben los consejos que propinan sus padres. They drink in the advice their parents give.

The reflexive form, beberse, is sometimes used as a way of adding emphasis. The difference between beber and beberse is sometimes seen as the difference between "to drink" and "to drink up": Entre los dos se bebieron tres botellas. Between the two of them they drank up three bottles.

Here are some common phrases that use beber:

  • beber a chorros — to drink heavily
  • beber a morro — to drink straight from the bottle
  • beber a sorbos, beber a sorbitos — to sip
  • beber como una cuba, beber como una esponja, beber como un cosaco — to drink like a fish
  • beber con exceso — to drink to excess
  • beber con la lengua — to lap up
  • beber de un trago — to drink in a gulp
  • beber hasta la última gota — to drink to the last drop
  • beber los vientos por — to have a strong desire for

Beber has a regular conjugation.

Meanings of Other Verbs

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