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Suppose that it's 12:30pm. An hour ago, you went out for lunch. After you ate, you decided to buy some food for your colleagues for lunch. When you are back to your workplace with the food, you are surprised to see tons of food on a table. Your colleagues are eating it. Then, you ask one of them the following question.

(1) Who paid for the lunch?

My non-native English speaking friends think you can never use the definite article for the word "lunch". Their revision is given in (2).

(2) Who paid for lunch?

I am not sure if my friends are correct in this scenario. I am talking specifically about the lunch your colleagues are eating at the table. Isn't correct to say "the lunch" instead of "lunch"?

Is it OK to use the definite article for "lunch" in my example?

As always, I really appreciate all your help and feedback. Many thanks.

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ansonguyI am talking specifically about the lunch your colleagues are eating at the table. Isn't correct to say "the lunch" instead of "lunch"?

Right. You can use the definite article with "lunch" in your example.

CJ