drink coffee/have coffee

ddubug

Senior Member
Korean
Hi,

What is the difference between two?

1. I want to have a cup of coffee.
2. I want to drink a cup of coffee.

Is there any 'tiny' difference between two?
 
  • The main difference is that "have" is much more common than "drink," particularly when talking about "a cup of coffee." Perhaps the reason is that the specific nature of the verb "drink" is unnecessary - what else would you do with a cup of coffee?

    When talking about coffee, or any beverage, in general, we drink it, but we usually have a cup of coffee or tea or a bottle of soda.

    I don't drink coffee.
    Would you like to have a glass of iced tea?

     

    revenote13

    New Member
    Korean
    I think it's that "I want to have a cup of coffee" includes all the process of "having a cup of coffee". (e.g. drink a bit --> rest a while --> drink again)
    cause most of the time when people have a cup of coffee, they don't just drink the whole thing at once, but they drink a bit and enjoy time passing or have a little chat with someone else then drink again. so it takes time.
    but "drink a cup of coffee" indicates only the action of drinking it. rather an instant thing.

    It's just my opinion. but it makes sense.
     

    pops91710

    Senior Member
    English, AE
    I think it's that "I want to have a cup of coffee" includes all the process of "having a cup of coffee". (e.g. drink a bit --> rest a while --> drink again)
    cause most of the time when people have a cup of coffee, they don't just drink the whole thing at once, but they drink a bit and enjoy time passing or have a little chat with someone else then drink again. so it takes time.
    but "drink a cup of coffee" indicates only the action of drinking it. rather an instant thing.

    It's just my opinion. but it makes sense.

    Not a bad try, but I disagree. We have lunch, dinner, and breakfast. I had eggs for breakfast, or I had a glass of milk before bedtime. You can have a glass of milk or water and drink it in one single motion. It has nothing to do with splitting the time of consumption up into sessions. To have can mean to drink a beverage or consume food.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, in speech it is more common to have a rather unspecific verb and keep the main information in the noun when describing many activities.

    I ate some cake. --> I had some cake.
    I drank 2 pints of lager. --> I had 2 pints of lager.
    I showered with cold water. --> I had a cold shower.
    I walked for half an hour. --> I had a half-hour walk.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    And do both drink and have work in these tenses?

    When I entered his room, Tom drank/had his coffee.
    When I entered his room, Tom was drinking/was having his coffee.
    When I entered his room, Tom had drunk/had had his coffee.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Out of context:
    1) When I entered his room, Tom drank/had was drinking/having coffee / some coffee / his coffee / a coffee.
    2) When I entered his room, Tom was drinking/was having his coffee. :tick:
    3) When I entered his room, Tom had drunk/had had his coffee. :tick:

    Why doesn't (1) work? Because having or drinking coffee is not an instantaneous action that can take place at the moment I enter the room.


    When I entered his room, Tom looked up. :tick: "Looking up" is an instantaneous action.
    When I entered his room, Tom shot the kangaroo. :tick:Ok (grammatically, but perhaps not ethically ;)).
    When I entered his room, Tom butchered a yak. :cross: Not ok. You can't butcher a yak in the time it takes to enter a room.

    When I entered his room, Tom was butchering a yak. :tick: Ok.
    Context tells us why there was a yak or a kangaroo in his room in the first place.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Why doesn't (1) work? Because having or drinking coffee is not an instantaneous action that can take place at the moment I enter the room.

    "When I entered the room, Tome drank the glass of juice."

    Wouldn't it work? For example, I entered the room, he saw me and drank the juice right away. Maybe he was supposed to drink it earlier and being scared, he drank it instantly so that I wouldn't get angry.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    A glass of juice is (almost always) served cold. You can gulp it down in more or less the same time it takes for me to enter the room. Coffee is almost always drunk at higher than room temperature, and we like to savour it, to enjoy the taste over several consecutive sips.

    Yes, of course it's possible to let your coffee get cold and then down it in one gulp, but in that case we would use a different verb than "had his coffee" or "drank his coffee", which tend to suggest that we are savouring the coffee in several sips for the pleasure of drinking it, rather than gulping it down in a hurry.

    This is the problem with looking at sentences out of context: it's a wild goose chase of endless semantic and syntactic possibilities.
     
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