3 meals at the same time everday vs. 3 meals a day at the same time

thelastbattle

Senior Member
Korean
Hello,
Today's question is about "3 meals at the same time every day vs. 3 meals a day at the same time".

Some of my clients have an eating disorder.
Today, one of them said that she tries to eat 3 meals at the same time every day vs. 3 meals a day at the same time
She meant that she eats a meal 3 times a day, and she scheduled the time. ex) 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.
I am not sure I did explain enough what I tried to say.
Please let me know which one should I choose.

Thank you,
 
  • Dryan

    Senior Member
    English - Northeastern U.S.
    I don't like the use of at the same time here. I had to parse that sentence twice because the first time I interpreted it to mean simultaneously. That being said, it's grammatical and I wouldn't consider it wrong. I just think it's slightly ambiguous for no good reason.

    I might try something like "3 meals a day on a set schedule" or "3 meals a day at specific times"
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't think it's ambiguous at all. It means simultaneously (*). If she wants it to mean what you said she wants it to mean, it's wrongly expressed.

    Well, not really simultaneously but sequentially. Whereas "normal" people eat three meals a day at different (but typically fixed) times of day, she follows some kind of intermittent fasting regime in which she takes her "three meals" in one sitting, and then eats nothing else for 23 hours. Perhaps this is the nature of her eating disorder.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "At the same time" often means simultaneously, and it is a little hard to escape from this meaning in your sentences, however absurd it sounds. There is an easy fix, and that is to change "time" to "times".

    Another alternative would be to say "at fixed times".
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I don't think it's ambiguous at all. It means simultaneously (*). If she wants it to mean what you said she wants it to mean, it's wrongly expressed.
    I didn't think it was ambiguous either. It clearly meant "three meals at the same time every day". Your "three meals at the same time every day" didn't even occur to me until I read Dryan's post.
     
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