Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…Is to ‘eat soup’ in Japanese, スープを飲む(sūpu o nomu) or スープを食べる(sūpu o taberu)?
When talking about consumption, we have the choice of using 飲む(nomu) or 食べる(taberu). Sometimes, it’s a little difficult to know which one to use.
A simple way to remember is that if you don’t chew, you use 飲む(nomu). As soup is a liquid, something you don’t chew, you would say, スープを飲む(sūpu o nomu). 
If it’s not a liquid or anything you would need to eat with a fork, you use 食べる(taberu).
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use 飲む(nomu) and 食べる(taberu) correctly.
Let’s first do an example with 飲む(nomu)--
味噌汁を飲みます。(Miso-shiru o nomimasu.)
This sentence would translate as “I eat miso soup.” Since it’s basically a liquid, and something we don’t “chew,” we use 飲む(nomu). But, like “soup,” some people use 食べる(taberu) when they eat miso soup or stew with a lot of ingredients. Like in this next example--
シチューを食べる。(Shityū o taberu.)
This sentence means, “I eat stew.” In this case, stew is technically a liquid, but there are usually many types of solid food used in stew, so it all depends on how much chewing you think you’re doing. From that, you can decide which verb to use.
I explained earlier that a simple way to remember is that if you don’t chew, you use 飲む(nomu). But, when the object is not liquid or doesn’t have liquid, you always use 食べる(taberu) even if you don’t “chew.” For example,
ゼリーを食べる。(Zerī o taberu.)
This means “I eat jelly.” Even if you don’t chew jelly, it’s not a liquid, so you use 食べる(taberu).
On the other hand, there is a case where you use 飲む(nomu) for something that’s not liquid. When you “take medicine” you would say, 薬を飲む(kusuri o nomu), “ I take medicine.” Although some medicines are solid, it’s not something you typically chew, and also you usually drink water together with medicine, so we use 飲む(nomu).
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!