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  • Writer's pictureClaudio

TOMAR and COGER in Spanish

Updated: Mar 4

Are “TÓMALO” and “CÓGELO” correct in both Spain and Latin America?

Woman guessing at the correct use of tomar and coger in Spanish

This is a very nice question because you need to know the Imperative to answer it correctly. Plus..., some cultural differences between most Latin American countries and Spain 🙂

Short Answer:

  • CÓGELO / TAKE IT or GRAB IT (Here you are using TÚ / You, in an INFORMAL context)

  • CÓJALO / TAKE IT or GRAB IT (Here you are using USTED / You, in a FORMAL context)

That being said, take into account that the verb COGER is used 100% ONLY in this way just in Spain. In most Latin American countries (not properly “all”, but almost all of them), COGER means to “F**K”, and in most contexts is considered vulgar as an expression.

The reason of this change of meaning could be on the fact that along the Spanish dominion over almost all Latin America, some of them - NOT all, for sure - used to kill a lot of men…, and to “GRAB” a lot of women. So people that were already there, before the Spanish conquest of the land, get used to associate this verb first to "sexual violence", and then…, hundreds of years after all that, just with the sexual act without the “violent part”, but it has remained as a vulgar way to refer to it.

Today, nobody really think about all this..., and when somebody from Spain uses this verb in Latin America it just sounds "funny", but nothing else.

So…, to express the concept of TAKING or GRABBING something — without the “risk” of funny misunderstandings — in most Latin American countries you can use lots of other different verbs. The most used it could be: TOMAR.

  • TÓMELO / TAKE IT or GRAB IT (Here you are using TÚ / You, for an INFORMAL context)

  • TÓMALO / TAKE IT or GRAB IT (Here you are using USTED / You, for an FORMAL context)

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Let’s see together how all this works specifically with the verb TOMAR (to “take/grab” in this context)…

IMPERATIVE - Affirmative


- Usted TOME / You GRAB - FORMAL

- Nosotros/as TOMEMOS / We > “let’s” GRAB

- Vosotros/as TOMAD / You all GRAB - INFORMAL

- Ustedes TOMEN / You all GRAB - FORMAL


- Tú no TOMES / You don’t GRAB - INFORMAL

- Usted no TOME / You don’t GRAB - FORMAL

- Nosotros/as no TOMEMOS / We > “let’s” not GRAB

- Vosotros/as no TOMÉIS / You all don’t GRAB - INFORMAL

- Ustedes no TOMEN / You all don’t GRAB - FORMAL

Object Pronouns goes right after the verb in AFFIRMATIVE IMPERATIVE, and between the “No” and “the verb” in the NEGATIVE IMPERATIVE:

  • TÓMALO / Grab IT

  • NO LO TOMES / Don’t grab IT

The imperative is a very irregular tense in Spanish, because it forms putting together the indicative and the subjunctive modes, and it drags into itself all irregularities from both of them. If you are a grammar person, you’ll enjoy it!

That being said, in case you want to push yourself beyond the correct use of TOMAR and COGER in Spanish, maybe finding new and powerful resources, plus the opportunity to practice your Spanish by talking in a professionally managed environment, if you want, you can take a look at our Live Conversation Classes (384 Classes available per YEAR — 1 to 6 students per class) 🙂

Complete Spanish Courses — from Zero to HERO in 6 months — can be found through our homepage 🚀

Qué tengas un maravilloso día!


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