Extra "the" in "In the evening, my mother and I cooked the dinner"

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Rain lover

Member
Persian
My name's Elsie Jackson. I'm eighty-nine years old. I was at school eighty years ago! Every morning I helped my mother. We lived on a farm, and sometimes I milked the cows. I walked eight kilometers to school. School started at eight o'clock. I learned reading, writing and math. And then I walked home with all my brothers and sisters. In the evening, my mother and I cooked the dinner. We didn’t watch TV, but we played games.
SOURCE

Shouldn't it be:
In the evening, my mother and I cooked dinner.
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It doesn't have to be without the article. I suspect it's variation. I would say 'cooked the dinner' in my British English and this lady is American.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    You don't have to use the definite article. In this instance it's optional, all depending on the speaker's idiom or colloquial variation. I could argue that it is the specific dinner for that night. But I would say 'What are we having for dinner tonight?' which would seem to contradict, but there, 'for dinner' is a set adverbial phrase.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    It's a little ambiguous why she uses the "the" there. Also, I wonder why the 89 year old American Elsie Jackson measures distance in kilometers rather than miles. I deal with kilometers all the time and I still have to translate them into miles to get a good sense of how far or fast something is. Maybe it's Canadian.

    In any case, I wouldn't say the rule about using the definite article is hard and fast. She already talked about "the" cows so maybe it just carried over to dinner.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Good point, Red. If you click on the word 'next' at the bottom of the text you can hear the woman speaking. I can't make out what accent it is but some sounds are more American than anything else.
    Anyway, eighty years ago the UK wasn't metric.
     
    Last edited:
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