I'm having some problems. (False) I'm having trouble. (True) I'm having some ideas. (False)

I read in a book that, when have means "possess" we cannot use continous forms. Now I'm thinking about it, what is the difference exactly among these words (trouble, idea, problem), these are all mental and they are not physical (for example, I have got a car).

2 Answers 2


Actually all 3 of your sentences are easily understood and show a certain type of possession

I'm having some problems
I'm have some difficulties with something

I'm having trouble
I'm having difficulty doing something

I'm having some ideas
I'm in the middle of creating a few ideas

The last sentence might be very informal and said while pacing back and forth after being asked "What are you doing?", in the same way a woman might say

I'm having a baby!

However, one would not say

I'm having a car.

What the three words (and the baby example) all have in common are that they are experiences.

I'm having a vacation.
She's having a cow. (slang for overreacting)
We're having a great time!


Have is a word in English that has many different meanings. One of those and probably the most common is "to possess".

Another meaning is "to experience" or "to undergo" in the sense of some situation or effect materializing around you - whether it starts outside of you (I'm having trouble, a problem, a situation) or inside of you (I'm having pain in my arm, a fever, a panic attack).

these are all mental and they are not physical

I think it is not whether X is mental or physical, but rather whether the source of X is something that "comes out of nowhere." For example:

My arm hurts.

There's a specific spot on your arm that hurts, and you probably know what made it hurt.

I'm having pain in my arm.

The pain is coming from inside your arm and you may not know the specific cause.

Ideas can fall in this same category.

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