15 English Expressions with “Have”

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Advanced English Grammar Course

Can you use “have” in the present continuous?

When have is used as a verb for possession, it CAN’T be used in the present continuous:

  • I’m having a lot of work to do.
  • have a lot of work to do.
  • They’re having a new car.
  • They have a new car.

However, in certain expressions, have can be used in the present continuous form:

  • I’m having a good time.
  • We’re having a meeting at 4 PM.

Have vs. have got

Have and have got are the same when talking about possessions, illnesses, relationships, and characteristics of people. Have got is just a more informal way to say it:

  • I have a lot of work to do.
    = I‘ve got a lot of work to do. (have got)
  • She has two sisters.
    = She‘s got two sisters. (has got)
  • He has a sore throat.
    = He‘s got a sore throat. (has got)
  • They both have black hair.
    = They‘ve both got black hair. (have got)

However, you can’t use have got in other situations:

  • You’ll have fun at the party.
    You’ll have got fun at the party.
  • I always have breakfast at 8.
    I‘ve always got breakfast at 8.

15 Expressions with “Have”

So here are 15 English expressions with the word “have,” and whether or not you can use “having” or “have got.”

1. have a look at something

Having – YES
Have got – NO

  • Let’s have a look at the facts in this case.
  • We’re having a look at your proposal as we speak.

You could also say “taking a look at”

2. have a talk/chat with someone

Having – YES
Have got – NO

  • She interrupted me while I was having a talk with my boss.
  • Bob is over there, having a chat with Laura.

3. have a meeting

Having = YES
Have got = YES

  • The marketing department is having a meeting right now.
  • I’m really busy today – I’ve got three meetings this afternoon.

4. have an appointment

Having = NO
Have got = YES

  • Do you have an appointment?
  • We‘ve got an appointment to see the dentist at 10:30.

5. have fun / have a good time / have a blast

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • Have a good time at the park!
  • The kids are having fun with their new toys.
  • We’re at the circus right now. We’re having a blast.

6. have a party

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • Let’s have a party to celebrate the end of the school year.
  • We’re having a party at our house on Friday night.

You can also say throwing a party. Both having and throwing a party mean that you are the one organizing the party.

7. have a baby

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • I’d like to have the baby at home.
  • Call a doctor, quick! My wife’s having the baby!
    (this means she is in the process of giving birth right now)
  • Here’s some big news – I’m having twins!
    (this means the twin babies will be born in the future)

8. have children/brothers/sisters

Having = NO
Have got = YES

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?
  • I’ve got two older brothers and one younger sister.
  • We’ve got four children.
    We have four children.

9. have a problem

Having = YES
Have got = YES

  • I’m having problems connecting my printer to my computer.
  • We made a mistake in the article, and now we’ve got a big problem.

10. have difficulty/trouble

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • I’m having difficulty understanding this English lesson.
  • Are you having trouble breathing?

11. have a good/bad day

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • I hope you’re having a good day!
  • Ugh, I’m having the worst day of my life.

12. have breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee/a drink/a sandwich

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • I’m having lunch with my coworkers.
  • Everyone’s in the cafeteria; they’re all having coffee.

13. have surgery / an operation

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • Danny is having heart surgery right now. We’re waiting for news from the doctors.
  • I’ll be having knee surgery on the 27th.

14. have a headache / sore throat / cold / the flu

Having = NO
Have got = YES

  • I need to lie down, I’ve got a headache.
  • My husband‘s got a bad cold.

15. have an effect/influence/impact

Having = YES
Have got = NO

  • The medication is definitely having an effect on the disease.
  • These new laws are having a major impact on the crime rate.


The list above refers to having in the present continuous: subject + (to be) + -ING form

With ALL the expressions above, is possible to use having in other sentence structures, such as when the verb is the subject of the sentence, or occurs after a preposition:

  • I’m having two children.
    (present continuous)
  • Having children changed my life.
    (gerund as the subject of the sentence)
  • I’m undecided about having children.
    (verb after a preposition is always -ING)

Here’s another example:

  • She’s having a car.
    (present continuous)
  • Having a car is a big responsibility.
    (gerund as the subject of the sentence)
  • It’s hard to get around town without having a car.
    (verb after a preposition is always -ING)

Learn more: All about the present perfect tense

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