Confusing Words English Lesson: Take Lunch Vs. Have Lunch

Michael Happy English! 15 Comments

Confusing Words English Lesson Take Lunch Vs. Have Lunch

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.

Enter email address:


If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them.

Thanks for studying today!

  • Rabia

    Great lesson.
    I had chicken rice for lunch.
    Let me know If take is used when we are talking about lunch break, isn’t it??

    • Michael

      Hi Rabia, yes, that’s exactly the point here. I take lunch means I take a break from work :)

  • Maria Talha

    What would you like to have for lunch?
    When would you like to take lunch?
    Am i correct here? need a response

    • Michael

      Hi Maria. Yes, you are correct indeed! Thanks for trying :-)

  • Hessam

    I had rice and Qorme Sabzi (an Iranian dish) for lunch today.

    Thanks for the lesson. It was so useful.

    • Michael

      Hessam, thanks. Can you tell me what Qorme Sabzi is? I am interested in food from all over the world.

  • lilele

    I had rice, vegetable and meat for lunch to day. My lunch is simple.
    What dishes you usually have for lunch?! Do you like fast food?!
    How long you take a lunch?!
    I hope some comments from you.
    Thanks for your helpful lesson!

    • Michael

      Hi Lilele, I generally have a lunch box containing the leftover food from last night’s dinner for lunch. Otherwise, I have typical lunch food like pizza, or a sandwich. I rarely have fast food. I love the taste, but it is too unhealthy. I only take about 15 min for lunch because my teaching schedule is pretty tight. How about you?

  • hemn

    I would like to have meat for lunch every day.
    I would like to take a cup of cofe and tea.

    • Michael

      Hi Hemn, you can say “have coffee/ tea” or “drink coffee/ tea” bit not “take coffee/ tea”

  • hemn

    I had (dolma) for lunch yesterday.
    I would like to take lunch at 1:00PM everyday.

  • hemn

    thanks for help teacher

    • Michael

      It’s my pleasure. I hope it is helpful :)

  • sdodeja

    Hi Michael,
    Could you help me with some tutorial to explaing the use of the word drive.
    In my class the only thing they associate with the word drive is driving cars.
    Please help.

    • Michael

      Hi Sdodeja,
      Let me see. We use drive as a noun to mean “determination to reach a goal.”
      Is that what you were thinking of?