What is the difference between I am doing lunch and I am having lunch? Both indicate progress of action.

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    To me, "to do lunch" seems to have a connotation of eating lunch with a secondary purpose in mind - "do lunch with a colleague/client" or "do lunch with a friend" - as if "lunch" was on your to-do list, for some reason, and you wanted to cross it off. "To have lunch" sounds quite neutral to me, on the other hand. If a friend said "we should do lunch" to me, it sounds like a future invitation to eat together; if a friend said "we should have lunch", it sounds as though it's reached lunchtime and we should both eat, and doesn't imply "together". But other people may think differently.
    – Billy
    Dec 18, 2012 at 13:33
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    I would rarely use the phrase I am doing lunch by itself. You don't "do" lunch by yourself or with yourself: We could "do lunch" or I could "do lunch" with a friend. I think the only way I would use the solitary phrase I am doing lunch would be in the sense of I am preparing lunch (for someone/some group/us, etc.)
    – ghoppe
    Dec 18, 2012 at 15:42
  • Also, having and doing may not "indicate progress of action" -- they may be statements of intention. "I'm having lunch with Joe tomorrow". —Welcome to ELU. Dec 18, 2012 at 16:06
  • @Robusto I don't think this is a duplicate. Some of the answers there mention OP's issue, but the treatment is hardly helpful. Dec 18, 2012 at 16:08
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    @StoneyB: That may be. In case you're right, I've answered below with the only meaningful distinction I can think of.
    – Robusto
    Dec 18, 2012 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


All right, here's one difference: You can have lunch by yourself or with others, but you generally don't speak of doing lunch unless you are doing it with others. "Doing lunch" is slang for meeting someone and having lunch together.


Here's another difference which might plausibly be UK-specific: doing lunch can mean making lunch. A family may ask themselves, "Whose turn is it to do lunch today?"

A statement "I'm doing lunch" can mean "I'm in the process of making lunch"; whereas "I'm having lunch" would mean "I'm in the process of eating lunch".

This is in addition to the meaning Robusto has alluded to: someone may make a suggestion "Let's do lunch," which usually means "Let's meet for lunch". However even that could mean (for example, on Christmas morning, when a Christmas meal might take several hours to prepare) "Let's start to make lunch".

Unfortunately there is not enough context in the question to determine the meaning required.

  • It's not exclusively UK; it's used in the US, too. However, I'd only expect to hear it with the meaning "undertake responsibility for making lunch", so it still has Robusto's group sense - "Who's doing lunch?" "I'm doing lunch for the gang before the game." Dec 19, 2012 at 19:14

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