I have made up the example below.

(1) Let's eat in a restaurant at noon. I will pay for lunch.

My non-native speaking friends think I need to add the definite article to ''lunch" because I am talking about that specific lunch.

(2) Let's eat in a restaurant at noon. I will pay for the lunch.

Do I need the definite article or not? Thanks for your help.

Original Post

Anson,

The short answer is no, the article is not needed, and it sounds unnatural in context to a native speaker.  Consider: this would be a normal conversation among native speakers:

A: Let's go out for lunch.  I'm buying.
B: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
A: I said we should go out.  I'll pay for lunch.

This is idiomatic.  The way I see it is that in both instances, "lunch" is a mass (uncountable) noun.  There are other circumstances in which it might be countable, but here no article is required or desired.

DocV

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