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Drink, Drinks, or Drinking?

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Written by Joyelle Ronan

Last week for Galentine’s day, a friend and I went out for a drink. She told me that she shouldn’t be having alcohol because she gave up drinking for the rest of the month. I told her that this didn’t really count because it was only one drink. But then, I wondered what if we had different definitions of drinking.

Is there an agreed upon definition of drinking and partaking in alcoholic beverages? Does having a drink every now and then count as drinking? Does drinking mean the same thing as going drinking? Are you still a social drinker if you only drink occasionally? It seems like there should be a more universal vocabulary to talk about this. So, I’ve created my own definitions. 

Having a drink means one drink and one drink only. More than that and it is considered drinks plural. While that might seem like common sense, there can be a lot of confusion surrounding this. 

Drinking or going drinking means there’s the intention of getting wasted. No one goes drinking just because they enjoy the taste of alcohol. 

Next, there’s the frequency of how often people drink—never, occasionally, or frequently. If a person consumes six drinks or less a year, I’d consider that in the never category. Confusing, I know, but if a person drinks this infrequently, it’s close enough to never. Anymore than that, I’d consider it to be occasionally drinking. 

It seems like there should be a category between occasionally and frequently. Some people might consider this to be socially but I disagree because people can be occasional or frequent social drinkers. Being a social drinker simply means drinking as a social activity. 

While these are of course just the definitions that make sense to me, I do think a better understanding of these terms can be helpful. As college students, we’re not always the best at monitoring our friends’ and our own drinking habits. With spring break around the corner, it’s a good time to think about the way you define and speak about drinking.