Spanish verbs: Llevar, tomar

spanish verbs llevar tomar

In Spanish, The words Llevar and Tomar are transitive or intransitive verbs. Native speakers use them frequently in their daily speeches. Although, their meanings are very diverse, which easily leads students to get confused.


So, in this article, we will show you an extensive list of the different ways you can use llevar and tomar. It will help you avoid confusion and use the right verb when the time comes. Also, they will help you communicate better not only when speaking but writing.


How to use llevar


As we said, llevar is a transitive or intransitive verb. It will depend on what we try to say or express. When using llevar as transitive, it means to move or displace a person or a thing with it to a different place from where one is. When using llevar as intransitive, it would be to lead or guide to a certain place.


You can use llevar when you want to describe what you are wearing. It could be a garment, clothing, or anything. For example,


Mi hermana lleva puesto un vestido muy hermoso. / My sister is wearing a very beautiful dress.


Another fairly common use is to move something from one place to another. For example,


Tengo que llevar a mi hijo a casa de su amigo. / I have to take my son to his friend’s house.


You can also use llevar to indicate a time in which a person has done or does something. For example,


Llevo viviendo en Madrid desde hace 10 años. / I have been living in Madrid for 10 years.


Llevo esperando a Samuel mas de 3 horas. / I have been waiting for Samuel for more than 3 hours.


In this case, works as an auxiliary verb more than the principal verb. On the other side, we often use this structure with gerunds.


In like manner, you can “llevar” in a pronominal way. This means that it indicates whether two or more people have a good or bad relationship. Here are some examples,


Me llevo bastante bien con Carla. / I get along pretty well with Carla.


Me llevo mal con todos los amigos de mi hermano. / I get along badly with all my brother’s friends.


Sometimes, you can omit the adverb of manner such as mal or bien (bad or good). We do this because it is already understood by those who listen or speak it. For example,


Mi ex novio y yo ya no nos llevamos. / My ex-boyfriend and I don’t get along anymore.


Likewise, we can use it in the sense of directing or driving. We use this for any activity, company, or circumstance, among others. For example,


Antonio está llevando la compañía bastante bien. / Antonio is running the company quite well.


Cecilia es la que lleva el mando de la discusión. / Cecilia is the one in charge of the discussion.


Finally, we can use llevar in a pronominal way. For example,


La tormenta se llevó decenas de casas y árboles. / The storm washed away dozens of houses and trees.


How to use tomar


Tomar is a verb you can use as transitive, intransitive, or pronominal. In other words, it’s a verb that can help you in several situations. One of the most common uses is when you want to express physical possession. For example,


La unión soviética tomó el control de la 2da Guerra Mundial. / The Soviet Union took control of World War 2.


Toma el control remoto y enciende el TV / Take the remote controller and turn on the TV.


We can also use tomar for choosing or making decisions. For example,


Habían varias tortas, pero tomé la de chocolate.

There were several cakes, but I took the chocolate one.


Another way to use tomar is when we eat, drink, or take a form of transportation.


Ayer me tomé una sopa de pollo. / Yesterday I ate chicken soup.


Voy a tomar taxi. / I’m going to take a taxi.


Me tomaré 2 vasos de agua con el desayuno. / I’ll take two glasses of water with breakfast.


Tomar can even help us when we want to interpret something in a certain way or to adopt a course of action. For example,


Mi papá se lo tomó de broma, no me creyó. / My dad took it as a joke, he didn’t believe me.


Se tomaron las precauciones necesarias para el viaje. / The necessary precautions were taken for the trip.


Since tomar also works as a pronominal verb, we can use it reflectively. For example,


Tómatelo como chiste, no es la gran cosa. / Take it as a joke, it’s not a big deal.


Finally, you can use tomar in general phrases like,


¡Vamos a tomarnos fotos! / Let’s take photos!


Estoy tomando nota. / I am taking note.


Tomar el control. / Take control.


Although there are still many ways to use tomar, these are the most common in Spanish.


Should I use Llevar or Tomar?


Although, in Spanish, llevar and tomar are transitive and intransitive verbs, can’t always use them for the same purpose. Sometimes, they will have “the same meaning” just changing the direction of the action. The way we use these verbs will depend on what we want to express when speaking. A simple way to differentiate them is according to what they are taking.


When we talk about llevar, it means transporting something or someone from one place to another. Whereas, we use tomar when taking a means of transport. For example,


Mi hermano me llevara a casa de mi amiga. / My brother will take me to my friend’s house.


Voy a tomar el siguiente bus. / I’m going to take the next bus.


On the other hand, we can not use llevar when we are eating or drinking, but we can with tomar. Here is an example,


Me voy a llevar la medicina. / I’m going to take the medicine.


Me voy a tomar la medicina. / I’m going to take the medicine.


As you can see in the first example, llevar is wrong in the sense of “swallowing” the pill. By this, we mean taking the medicines with us, moving them from somewhere with us. While in the second example it would be the correct way since we are talking about taking medicine.


In conclusion, llevar y tomar might look alike to some people. However, we must be careful when using them in our sentences. An easy way to tell them apart is that we generally use tomar when we talk about objects. Therefore, we use llevar when we talk about people. However, in some cases, this does not apply. Thus, if you have any doubts about which of the two to use, you can re-read this article and see what case best fits your needs.

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