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I am having a sore throat. vs I have a sore throat.

Similarly,

He is having a heart attack. vs He has a heart attack.

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It is common in Indian English to overuse the continuous tense. In British and American English, you would never say 'I am having a sore throat'. A sore throat is a state that persists for some time. So you say 'I have a sore throat'.

However, a heart attack is an event, not a state. During the event, you are having a heart attack. Afterwards, you had a heart attack. At no point should you say (in BrE or AmE) "He has a heart attack".

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  • I agree with your answer in general, but whenever I see something like, "At no point should you say..." then I start wondering about exceptions. In this case, I thought about something like, "Every time he gives a speech, he has a heart attack." (Of course, in this sentence, heart attack does not refer to the medical condition, but is used figuratively, meaning, "experiences high levels of nervousness and anxiety." Usually such figurative usage is preceded by "nearly" or "almost", as in: "I almost hard a heart attack when you snuck up behind me!") As for your opening assertion -- reference? – J.R. Feb 5 '18 at 17:47

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