When you want to speak about the afternoon meal in reference to time, the correct word to refer to this is “lunchtime.” You could use “lunch time,” it’s not entirely incorrect but it’s also not acceptable grammatical English.
This may seem a bit confusing because the same rules don’t apply for every meal time throughout the day. So, it’s a matter of remembering the differences in relationship to one another.
Lunchtime, as previously stated, is a noun indicating the meal that people eat in the afternoon. This often occurs somewhere between 11 am and 1 or 2 pm. You can use “lunch” instead of “lunchtime,” but it’s not good form to say, “lunch time.”
Correct: We went to the café down the street during lunchtime.
Correct: We went to the café down the street during lunch.
Incorrect: We went to the café down the street during
lunch time .
Other Meal Times throughout the Day
This may come as a confusing surprise among new students to English. This is because you wouldn’t use the same rules to indicate all meals. Consider the following:
Breakfast indicates the morning meal. But you wouldn’t use breakfastime or breakfasttime, both are incorrect.
There are two different words to indicate evening or late afternoon meals. These are “dinner” and “supper.” Traditionally, it used to be that dinner occurred late in the afternoon whereas supper was a light meal eaten later in the evening. However, today, both are interchangeable.
But, both “supper” and “dinner” fall under the same rules as “lunch.” No space is necessary between supper/dinner and time.
Supper = Suppertime
Dinner = Dinnertime
To illustrate the point, evaluate the statements below:
Correct: My grandmother used to cook both supper and dinner on Sundays.
Correct: My grandmother used to cook both suppertime and dinnertime on Sundays.
Incorrect: My grandmother used to cook both
supper time and dinner time on Sundays.
While it may seem confusing that all mealtimes don’t fall under the same grammatical rules, there’s an easy way to remember it:
All meals throughout the day will have “time” attached to them. The only exception is breakfast.
When you want to discuss the moment of eating a meal in the earliest parts of the afternoon, the correct use is “lunchtime.” You can interchange this with “lunch” but “lunch time” is slightly incorrect.