Are you at lunch

jing ping

Member
Chinese - Mandarin
Jim and Michelle are colleagues and they meet in an elevator at work after holidays.
Jim: Hey Michelle. Good to see you. Are you at lunch?
Michelle: Oh, hi Jim. No, I just got back. I thought you were on vacation now.

Does "are you at lunch" mean "are you going to have lunch", which is different from"have you already had lunch"?
 
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  • S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    I'd say 'on lunch', meaning 'are you on your lunch break'. The inference isn't whether you have eaten or not, but whether you are working or on a break.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I would never say "on lunch" (*), and I would use "at lunch" only when I'm actually in the middle of eating lunch. Otherwise it's "I'm on my lunch break". I could omit "my", but not "break".

    Therefore to me the question "Are you at lunch?" is pointless in a face-to-face conversation, because the speaker would be able to see that the other person is eating. But it would work in a mobile phone conversation.

    (*) Actually, I might, but in very different circumstances. If it was my turn to make lunch today, I could say "I'm on lunch" as short for "I'm on lunch duty".
     
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    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with both the opposite views above!
    In general, if someone said "I was at lunch", I would assume they were eating or very close to it eg on the way to/from the eating place.

    But in the context of a workplace, I think it's very common to use "on" plus the activity.

    I'm on reception.
    She's on ward inspection.
    He's on second watch.
    They're on call.
    We're on nightshift.
    He's on break (short).
    She's on lunch (longer break; not necessarily eating).
     

    jing ping

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    I agree with both the opposite views above!
    In general, if someone said "I was at lunch", I would assume they were eating or very close to it eg on the way to/from the eating place.

    But in the context of a workplace, I think it's very common to use "on" plus the activity.

    I'm on reception.
    She's on ward inspection.
    He's on second watch.
    They're on call.
    We're on nightshift.
    He's on break (short).
    She's on lunch (longer break; not necessarily eating).
    Thank you.
    So in your opinion:
    1. "I'm on lunch" is commonly used to mean "they were eating or very close to it eg on the way to/from the eating place."?
    2. But according to Edinburgher, even "I'm on lunch" is not correct in this context. He would only use it when it's his turn to make lunch and "I'm on lunch" is short for "I'm on lunch duty".
     

    jing ping

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    I'd say 'on lunch', meaning 'are you on your lunch break'. The inference isn't whether you have eaten or not, but whether you are working or on a break.
    I would never say "on lunch" (*), and I would use "at lunch" only when I'm actually in the middle of eating lunch. Otherwise it's "I'm on my lunch break". I could omit "my", but not "break".

    Therefore to me the question "Are you at lunch?" is pointless in a face-to-face conversation, because the speaker would be able to see that the other person is eating. But it would work in a mobile phone conversation.

    (*) Actually, I might, but in very different circumstances. If it was my turn to make lunch today, I could say "I'm on lunch" as short for "I'm on lunch duty".
    "Are you at lunch" is fine in BrE, meaning are you on your lunch break.
    Thank you all! But I feel more confused...
     

    jing ping

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Not surprisingly, as different people say different things. For example:

    I'd never say that to mean that she's having a lunch break - "she's at lunch". But in a face-to-face situation "are you at lunch?" seems a strange question. For me it's "are you on your lunch break?" - and with no words left out.
    Thank you. I think I'd better avoid the use of "at lunch".
     
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