Expression: He had an egg for dinner


Do you find anything grammatically objectionable in the following sentence? If so, what is that? :roll:

He had an egg for dinner last night.


PS I will tell you why I am asking this question after I get either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from you. :shock:

The sentence sounds fine, though I wouldn’t call such a frugal meal a dinner. So, do we get to know why you’re asking? :slight_smile:

I would say “If so, what is it?”.

A natural way to ask that same question would also be:
“If so, what?”

Tom, I’m going to guess why you posted your question. 8)

I bet someone told you this:
Even if a person has exactly one egg for dinner, he will still usually say “I had eggs for dinner.”

Am I right? :wink:


A huge thank you to Conchita, Canadian45 and Amy! :lol:

In fact, I was very surprised to read in Collins Cobuild English Guide that we take cake, banana or egg for dinner etc. When a person says I had cake for dinner he is only concentrating on the product(meal) he took and not on the number. ‘I will take cake for dinner tonight.’ may include any number of cakes, maybe only two spoons. So the more natural way to say (according to the book)

I had egg for dinner–and now this may include different kinds of egg the person had–he ate until he was full.

I really do not know. I would like to know from you people. Is it again only bookish?? :shock:


Hi Tom,

All this sounds very earnest and serious for a Sunday morning. May I be allowed to be puckish and flippant? I hope so. Note the expression: He won’t stand a chance. She’ll have him for breakfast.


In other words, and according to “Tom’s” rule:

She’ll have man for breakfast.

Sounds even more voracious, doesn’t it? (I was going to say ‘wolfish’, but fortunately looked it up first!)

How can anything about the English language still surprise a sea dog like you, Tom?

You can even use the food adjectivally and say ‘I had an egg dinner’ (or ‘a meat dinner’, ‘a fish dinner’, etc).

Hope I didn’t over-egg the pudding!

Final word: How about a dog’s dinner?


:lol: :lol: :lol:
Thanks, Alan and Conchita. Your posts brightened up my breakfast. :smiley:

Tom, in case you haven’t picked up on all of the wordplay, take a look here and here (definition 9) :smiley:


Alan, how is a dog’s dinner different from a dog’s breakfast?


Do we agree? Or do you agree with the book?


Hi Tom

I would never say “I had banana for dinner” or “I had egg for dinner”.

(However, I would be willing to say “I had eggs for breakfast.” or “I had an egg for breakfast.” 8))

I would say:

I had cake for dessert.
I had ice cream for dessert.
I had fruit for dessert.
I had steak for dinner.
I had fish for dinner.
I had pasta for lunch.
I had soup for lunch.
I had yoghurt for breakfast.
I had toast for breakfast.
I had eggs for breakfast. 8)

There is no specific quantity indicated for any of these things. They are types of things you can eat, but nothing more specific than that. Is that what you want to know?