I'm translating this sentence from Russian into English.

Have your friends had/did you friends have a vacation in Spain? - No, they were going to, but changed their mind.

I'm wondering about the following: we are asking about the news, we don't know about that fact in the moment, but at the same time it can be a past event having nothing to do with the present situation (may be we know the exact past time).

So, which one is more preferable having no definite context?

  • We generally "take" vacations rather than "having" them. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 23 '17 at 11:35
  • @StoneyB, ok, this typo is the result of my not-native origin. I'll remember it. Thanks. – Anthony Voronkov Jun 23 '17 at 22:25

One way to phrase it:

Did your friends go on that vacation to Spain? No. They were going to, but changed their mind.

By using the word "that" it signals a specific vacation that they had in mind.

In American, we do not "have" vacations. We go on vacation, or take a vacation.

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