In most sentences that use the word lunch, I found this word does rarely take the definite article the. For example:

I have lunch in three hours.

Shall we go out for lunch?

Let's have some lunch.

I'll take my lunch to school.

But now I wonder if this word really cannot take the definite article, and if it can, in what cases do I use the definite article and in what cases not?

And also, if the word lunch cannot take the definite article, why cannot it have it?

1 Answer 1


It certainly can take the definite article, just not in the cases you cite. Here's one:

Did you go to the lunch they had for Julie's last day of work?

Or this one:

Are you sure it was the lunch that made you ill?

Or this one, perhaps spoken by a waiter:

Did you find the lunch to your satisfaction?

When you want to refer to a particular lunch, the definite article is employed. That's what it's for, after all. It's the same with other nouns, like soup: "Do you like the soup?" is different from "Do you like soup?" The first references a particular instance of soup—a particular tomato bisque, perhaps, that your host just served you. The second refers to soup in general.

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