As said in that commentary, to have a dinner isn't ungrammatical, but implies a dinner for a specific reason. Examples are:

  • we're having a dinner in his honour
  • we're having a birthday dinner for you

but the difference is totally unclear for me. What is changed, if I'd say we're having dinner in his honour, for example.

  • 1
    See this answer on another question.
    – eques
    Sep 7, 2016 at 18:08
  • @P.E.Dant my question is not about article usage.
    – aryndin
    Sep 7, 2016 at 20:16
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    The question of which this is a duplicate is not about article usage either. Both are about the special meaning of "dinner" with the zero article. (By the way, in your question, didn't you mean to write "What is changed, if I'd say we're having dinner in his honour, for example." Sep 7, 2016 at 20:23
  • @P.E.Dant fixed. Also one new question is raised - what is the difference between the dinner and a dinner since both are reffered to the meal as an event. I think this question is not worthy to be asked by itself.
    – aryndin
    Sep 7, 2016 at 20:34
  • A native speaker infers the special meaning from context, I'm afraid. In other words, there really isn't a rule at work here. Sep 7, 2016 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


A dinner is a different noun than dinner.

A dinner implies a special occasion/celebration/observance. Typically this would involve a lot of people coming together for a particular purpose, at which food will be served (almost incidentally).

Dinner is the meal you have at the end of the day. Although there are regional variations on what you call the three basic meals that you might eat in the morning, at noon and at the end of the day.

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    n.b., All nouns describing meals fall under this rubric, e.g. brunch, lunch, supper, breakfast. Sep 7, 2016 at 20:26

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