Friday, September 28, 2007

Why do we say, “Dinner is ready!” but say, “The meal is ready”? Why is there a “the” in front of “meal” but not “breakfast,” “lunch,” or “dinner”? We also say “The snack is prepared,” not “Snack is prepared.” I’ll have to think about this a bit. I’m guess it’s related to our reasons for saying “at the seventh hour” as opposed to “at seventh hour.”

We ate the breakfast at seventh hour.
We ate meal at the seven o’clock.

“The” seems to be a place-holder for something more titular. I don’t know. I know how to use it, but I don’t know how I’d explain it if I were teaching a class on non-English speakers. I’m sure there are explanations, and I’ll have to poke around.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps, and I am basing this on no knowledge or research whatsoever, because Dinner, Breakfast, and Lunch are significant events. Like we say, "I can't wait to see what Santa brought me for Christmas." It would be awkward, though perhaps a little more syntactically consistent to say, "I can't wait to see what Santa brought me for the Christmas [Christ Mass {or is it Christ's Mass?}]."


I'm eager to hear your thoughts!