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    #1

    Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Question: Is it wrong to say ‘I eat lunch’?

    Answer: Well, it's not technically wrong. But when we talk about things like lunch and dinner, we talk about them as being events rather than being food. So we use verbs that we use for events!
    So like how we say “we are having a workshop” or “we had a discussion”, we also say “we have lunch” and not “we eat lunch”!

    Is the advice given correct? I was taught it was fine to say "We eat lunch."

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Tan Elaine; 15-Mar-2012 at 11:23.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    Question: Is it wrong to say ‘I eat lunch’?

    Answer: Well, it's not technically wrong. But when we talk about things like lunch and dinner, we talk about them as being events rather thanbeing food. So we use verbs that we use for events!
    So like how we say “we are having a workshop” or “we had a discussion”, we also say “we have lunch” and not “we eat lunch”!

    Is the advice given correct? I was taught it was fine to say "We eat lunch."

    Thanks.
    The advice is wrong.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    We use both. There's certainly nothing wrong with using "to eat" with the name of a meal.

    I ate breakfast at 7am.
    I had lunch at 2pm.
    I'm going to eat dinner at 9pm.

    It's often personal choice. I generally only use "to have". I got up and had breakfast quite early. I had lunch with friends and I'm having dinner with my parents.

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    #4

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Thanks, Raymott and Emsr2d2.

    It just came across my mind. Is it wrong to say “We took lunch"?


  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    Thanks, Raymott and Emsr2d2.

    It just came across my mind. Is it wrong to say “We took lunch"?

    It is used in some dialects of English.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It is used in some dialects of English.
    And in one case, a meal's name has an alliterative name - so 'take tea' is even more widespread; in fact I'd guess that 'take tea' is more common than 'have tea'. I'll check in BNC (although come to think of it) in both cases [have/take] 'tea' could refer to the drink or the leaves or the bushes, rather than the meal, so a comparison won't be conclusive...

    b

    b

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It is used in some dialects of English.
    And in one case, a meal's name has an alliterative name - so 'take tea' is even more widespread; in fact I'd guess that 'take tea' is more common than 'have tea'. I'll check in BNC (although come to think of it) in both cases [have/take] 'tea' could refer to the drink or the leaves or the bushes, rather than the meal, so a comparison won't be conclusive...

    b
    PS 'take tea' : 22; 'have tea': 70, but as I said, the possible contexts make the comparison difficult. My impression (of the BNC results) is* that a greater percentage of the 'take tea' hits refer to the meal. As a very rough guide, using appropriate prepositions (at,in,with) 'take tea +<prep>' has a total of 8 hits and 'have tea +<prep>' has a total of 27 hits. Which makes the percentages both about 30%...

    PPS *Which makes my initial impression wrong
    Last edited by BobK; 15-Mar-2012 at 13:33.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    I've really got to stop, but I've just had another thought Maybe 'take tea' has a hint of class/'best' behaviour - as in the Beatles song Lovely Rita, metre maid: '...would you be free to take some tea with me?'

    b

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    #9

    Re: Is it wrong to say I eat lunch?

    "To take tea" has class connotations for me too. I see it as "afternoon tea" - a china pot of tea and china cups, a little bowl of sugarcubes with silver tongs, probably a cake stand with little dainty butterfly cakes etc etc.

    There is also a regional variation in the UK between those who call their evening meal "tea" and their midday meal "dinner", and those who call the evening meal "dinner" and the midday meal "lunch".

    It can be further complicated by days of the week. When I was growing up, from Monday to Saturday we had breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Sunday, we had breakfast, Sunday lunch (roast dinner) and then tea. "Tea" on a Sunday consisted of buttered crumpets, mashed egg sandwiches, a Victoria sponge cake and a pot of tea. We would not have that combination of foods on any other day of the week.

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