Between the following, which is acceptable/preferable and why?
- I had my lunch.
- I ate my lunch.
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Both are acceptable, and both can mean that the speaker had eaten a lunch. Because had is a versatile word with several meanings, though, "I had my lunch" can also be used in other contexts, where it means something different. For example:
Sarah asked if I wanted to go with her to get lunch in the cafeteria, but I had my lunch.
(In other words, I had brought my own lunch from home.)
My wife saw my lunchbox on the countertop, so she called to ask if I had my lunch.
(In other words, Did I have my lunch with me? Or did I inadvertently leave it at home?)