He always takes a heavy breakfast because he generally skips lunch.

I don't get why "a" is used here. Generally we don't use any article before meals like breakfast, lunch etc. Many could say as adjective "heavy" is used here, before breakfast, we can use an article. But I don't see any use for the article here.

1 Answer 1


What is the source? The common idiom is to have breakfast, not take breakfast, and it should be "He takes" not "He take".

Otherwise the article is fine. Some nouns that you may have been taught don't take articles, in this case the general concept of "breakfast", can still have specific examples which do take the article. The key is the adjective "heavy" which narrows down the meaning to a specific kind of meal:

They eat breakfast at 5 am every morning.
They eat a large breakfast at 5 am every morning.

She paints on canvas.
She paints on a canvas made from recycled greeting cards.

You'll find this general/specific pattern is quite common:

I like vegetables
I like the vegetables that Mary grows in her garden.

She studies philosophy.
She studies a philosophy of human relationships.

  • Note that you omitted "She paints on canvas made from recycled greeting cards." which is just as valid. It depends whether she always or currently paints on a canvas made from greeting cards. Also, you could argue a similar point about "I like vegetables that Mary grows in her garden." if you are talking about all vegetables (past, present, future), as opposed to only the present vegetables in the garden. This distinction is relevant in cases where Mary plants different vegetables from time to time and you only like certain vegetables and dislike certain others.
    – Flater
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 10:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .