I am used to saying 'have/take your dinner' and 'eat your food'. Is it correct to say 'eat your dinner'?

Is it just a matter of style and preference?

  • To take one's dinner sounds like an affected/dated usage to me. I take tea in the garden during summer is decidely Victorian to my ear. Oct 22, 2015 at 16:55
  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. It would help if you explained why you think it is wrong to say eat your dinner, when examples of it are found all over the web. I would agree with @FumbleFingers that take is understood, but mostly from literary uses. Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey / Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea. But I'd say it's less pretentious than using the verb forms of meals. Shall we breakfast in the solarium?
    – choster
    Oct 22, 2015 at 17:50
  • @choster: You could dine out on the pearls of wisdom dispensed in these here comments! (Not sure if that usage counts as "pretentious" :) Oct 23, 2015 at 1:50
  • I'm not sure why the question was voted down since the it was genuinely seeking clarification (I'm new to this site and still fumbling around). Perhaps I am dated in my expression at the dinner table...
    – Lyng
    Oct 23, 2015 at 4:16
  • If 100 million fathers tell their children "Eat your dinner!" can it possibly be wrong?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9, 2015 at 12:58

5 Answers 5


As stated in the comments above, "take your dinner" sounds a bit outdated. It is probably better to say "eat your dinner."

On another note: PERSONALLY, I have never heard anyone say, "Have your dinner." I have heard things like, "Come have dinner with us," but I have never heard the phrase, "Have your dinner" by itself. I'm not saying it's wrong though.

  • 2
    I've certainly heard "have your dinner" used interchangeably with "eat your dinner". I completely agree that "take your dinner" is an outdated phrase that I have never or rarely heard used in idiomatic speech.
    – Jane S
    Nov 9, 2015 at 5:47

I think it's a matter of style and context of the conversation.
For example when you say "take your dinner" that would make me think you're working late and taking your dinner break


"Eat your dinner" is American English. "Have your dinner" is somewhat anglicized English (i.e. Canadian or British.) "Take your dinner" is not standard in any primarily anglophone country, as far as I know.


Take your dinner is not Standard American English, unless you are saying, “Take your dinner with you.” Take your dinner sounds from Spanish,”Tomaste la cena.”


If I'm not mistaken "take your dinner" is American English, while "eat your dinner" is British English.

  • 1
    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?
    – deadrat
    Nov 9, 2015 at 9:33
  • 3
    If anything, you've got it backwards.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 9, 2015 at 12:59

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