Confusing Words English Lesson: Take Lunch Vs. Have Lunch

Michael Confusing Words, Vocabulary 15 Comments


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In American English there are a number of meanings of the verb have. Today I’m going to show you how to use have when it is used to mean “eat” or “drink.” In addition, I’ll show you how we use take to talk about meal breaks.

Have is used to mean eat or drink, and is used this way especially in conversational English. If you want to talk about what you eat or drink, you can use have for:

  • I had a bagel for breakfast.
  • I sometimes have pasta for lunch.
  • Jack said he likes to have a glass of wine with dinner.
  • What do you usually have for lunch?

Now, look at the following sentences. Can you find the difference?

  • I had lunch at 1:30pm.
  • I took lunch at 1:30pm.

When we use have, it means to eat lunch. When we use take, it means to use one’s meal or rest period at work. For example,

  • Jack always takes lunch at 12:30. Jack’s meal period at work is 12:30~1:00pm.
  • What time did you take lunch today.

We don’t use take to mean eat or drink, so for example these sentences are not natural in English:

  • I took a cup of coffee before starting work. Should be, “I had a cup of coffee…”
  • I took some tea and a cookie for dessert. Should be, “I had some tea and a cookie…”

What do you usually have for lunch? Leave a comment here and let me know.
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