Have vs. Having

Having is the present participle form of have. We do not normally use having to express ideas such as possession. When have means own, it is always used in the base form. Having is not possible in this case.

  • I have a car. (BUT NOT I am having a car.)
  • He has a daughter. (BUT NOT He is having a daughter.)

Have is also used to talk about medical conditions that we experience.

  • I have a cold / a headache / a sore throat. (NOT I am having a cold / a headache.)

However, the form having can be used to talk about certain medical conditions that last for only a few seconds or minutes. For example, we can say:

  • I am having a heart attack.
  • He thought that he was having a stroke.
  • He was having an epileptic fit.

When we talk about eating, the continuous form having is possible.

They were having dinner when I arrived. (Here we are talking about an activity that was in progress when another action occurred.)


  • I have breakfast at 8 am. (Routine)
  • I am having breakfast. (An activity that is going on at the moment of speaking)

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