Man needs something for the sake of which to live. Man, woman, child — these are eternal notions.
Articles with the Names of Meals
To this group of nouns belong: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, tea.
1. When these nouns are used in their abstract meaning denoting a process of taking food, or are associated with time, they are used with out any article:
• to have (take, prepare, serve, cook) dinner, breakfast, lunch, supper;
• to go to dinner, to be at dinner (lunch); to return by (before, after) supper;
• Lunch is at two p.m. Dinner is ready (served, laid).
We'll discuss it after tea. I'll have a meeting before lunch.
2. The indefinite article is used when names of meals are modified by descriptive attributes.
• You can get a hot supper here. We had a late breakfast.
It's not a very fancy lunch, I’m afraid.
3. The definite article is found with names of meals if there is a situation, a context, a restrictive attribute, or if the food itself is meant.
• The dinner you cooked was marvelous.
How much did you pay for the supper?
I must go to the kitchen and have a look at the dinner.
4. Sometimes names of meals become countable nouns denoting:
a) a party(both articles may be used):
• We had a dinner last night. Many celebrities came to the dinner.
They met at an official lunch.
Have you received the invitation to the dinner?
b) a portion(the indefinite article expresses oneness):
• I have not enough money to buy a supper.
A set-dinner is rather cheap.
The Use of Articles with Material Nouns
1. Material uncountable nouns used in a general sense take no article and have no plural form.
• Food is something we cannot do without. There is cold juice in the jug.
2. The definite article is used if the noun is clear from the situation or the context or if there is some limitation.
• The food she cooked was uneatable.
The bread is on the table.
Wasn't the cake delicious?
3. Some uncountable material nouns can become countable and express different sorts, kinds, portions. Here belong the following nouns: beer, cheese, coffee, detergent, food, jam, meat, medicine, perfume, soup, tea, whisky, wine, wood.
• — Which wines are produced in this region? — A dry red wine and a rose.
My Granny makes a very fine jam. She makes four jams every year.
— Want a beer? — Two teas, please.
There are four soups on the menu today.
The Use of Articles with Uncountable Abstract Nouns
1. Uncountable abstract nouns used in a general sense take no article.
• When in distress people look for friendship.
I've come to you for help. Love isn't measured by words.
2. Uncountable nouns may become countable if they denote kindsor special aspectsof the notion which they denote.
• A dull anger rose in his chest.
A strange fear overcame me.
Your fears are ungrounded.
3. No article is used if abstract nouns are modified by such attributes as modern, English, French, real, authentic, symbolic, Soviet, proletarian, medieval, ancient, contemporary.
• French poetry, modern art, contemporary science, authentic literature
The definite article is used if there is a limiting attribute.