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ESL forum > Message board > Dinner, Tea or Supper?    

Dinner, Tea or Supper?



spinney
United Kingdom

Dinner, Tea or Supper?
 
This drives me around the bend sometimes. All my life I have said dinner instead of lunch and tea for dinner and, for a snack late in the evening, supper, yet I have to teach breakfast, lunch, dinner. I have noticed some Irish colleagues saying similar things, too. Is it just the British Isles where this confusion goes on? I found an interesting article on the subject here

28 Jun 2019      



maryse peyé
France

Thank you Spinney for the article.
 
I was taught that dinner was a synonym of supper (in French "dîner" and "souper" are synonyms).and tea was the very famous "5 o´clock tea time"...
 
Sometimes there are - may I say - "strange" subtilities.
 
Might this come from the fact that the evening/night meal is early "on the clock"?
 
Hugs.
 
Maryse.

28 Jun 2019     



spinney
United Kingdom

Thanks, Maryse, I didn´t know there was a verb "souper" in French. That explains a lot.
I think that "dinner" in English always used to be the main meal of the day and the time for dinner started changing at around the time of the industrial revolution. By the Victorian age, it had become the evening meal. However, a lot of people still say "tea." And a few years ago I had to explain why one of the characters in a video I was showing to my students had said: "Eat your tea!" 
In fact, I still remember my mother saying, "If you don´t eat all your tea, they´ll be no afters." (afters= dessert) 
Here in Spain, people have this odd idea that the Engish have "tea" at 5 o´clock, too. It´s very funny when they discover it means the main meal in most of the country. However, for the "upper classes" (whoever they may be nowadays), "tea," as in the drink, is had at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
 

28 Jun 2019     



karagozian
France

This is what Collins says :
 
1. variable noun
Dinner is the main meal of the day, usually served in the early part of the evening.
She invited us to her house for dinner.
Would you like to stay and have dinner?
Enjoy your dinner.
...four-course dinners.
Synonyms: meal, evening meal, main meal, spread [informal]   More Synonyms of dinner
2.  See also TV dinner
3. variable noun
Any meal you eat in the middle of the day can be referred to as dinner.
meal
4. countable noun
A dinner is a formal social event at which a meal is served. It is held in the evening.
...a series of official lunches and dinners.
The Professional Cricketers´ Association held its annual dinner in London.
Synonyms: banquet, feast, blowout [slang], repast
 
 
Because as an ex Belgian teaching French to Dutch ss this was and is till  very confusing.

28 Jun 2019     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Where I come from, the NE, we had breakfast, dinner, tea and supper. We had a proper dinner at school (meat, two veg and a dessert). Tea would be a sandwich or something, coming in from school and supper - for most of us - was egg and chips. On Saturdays, dinner would be egg and bacon, something like that. Sunday dinner would be the works - roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings, served at around 1 o´clock. That is still the tradition, although obviously, in some areas, it is called Sunday lunch. When I lived in Surrey, it was breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now I live in God´s own county (Yorkshire!) and we have breakfast, lunch and tea. (Sorry to complicate things, Dale!). People may have a bit of supper, but rarely as tea is a proper meal. Dinner - as in the links from Monique, is a more formal event. You go out for dinner and you invite people to dinner. 
I often have a laugh when I ask my husband, ´Has the cat had her tea yet?´ Anybody might picture her, lapping up lapsang souchong from her saucer!  
Going out for a cream tea is a treat. That is a scone, with cream and jam. There is even a debate about which goes on first, the cream or the jam. It surely has to be the jam! I´ve heard of high tea, fancy little sandwiches and tiny cakes. 
Going to read the article now. It probably says all this.... 

28 Jun 2019     



maryse peyé
France

Hi Spinney,
 
To go a little further let´s say that "souper" is old-fashioned. I guess you have found the root "soupe". If you know the French series (books and TV) Nicholas LeFloch (kind of detective stories) under the reign of Louis 14, Louis 15 and Louis 16 you will read or hear this old term. "Le souper du Roy" (the supper of the King").
 
Today we say "petit déjeuner" for "breakfast", "déjeuner" for "lunch", "goûter" for "snack" (at 4 o´clock) and "dîner" for "dinner".
"encas" is for a very rapid meal when you are in a hurry and "repas" is for "meal".
 
But unfortunately, here in France, like in many other countries I think, the language is becoming pooer and pooer !
 
Hugs.
 
Maryse.

28 Jun 2019     



spinney
United Kingdom

I love how French, and many other languages for that matter, affect English. I noticed that Lynne mentioned scones. So, where does everybody stand on the pronunciation of that wonderful snack? I go with the "gone," pronunciation. Although, to be honest, if somebody pronounces it to rhyme with "bone," I don´t exactly pull my hair out.  

29 Jun 2019     



jannabanna
France

For me ´scone´ rhymes with ´bone´ and we had breakfast, dinner and tea when I was a child. I was brought up in Hastings, East Sussex. But as you all say it varies depending on the area you come from and the family. 

29 Jun 2019     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

A scone will always be a scone,
Until every last crumb´s eaten and gone 

29 Jun 2019     



Jayho
Australia

Interesting topic!
 
In the land downunder it is generally: breakfast (or brekky), lunch, tea or dinner, snack.  You can always tell who is British - they call lunch dinner and evening snack supper, and confuse all us Aussies  ;) 
 
Scone rhymes with gone.  Scones with jam and cream served with a cup of tea is called a Devonshire tea, and is very popular here. And jam always goes first.

29 Jun 2019     



yanogator
United States

Hey, I added a comment after Lynne´s first one, and it isn´t here!
 
Bruce   :(
 

29 Jun 2019     

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