Look at the example below:

The manager is having his problems (A)/ but we have (B)/ ours as well. (C)/ No error (D)

The site that I am following says:

The verb "have" can work as continuous and non-continuous verb depending upon its meaning. When we use it to mean as "experience", we can use it in continuous form. For example, I am having great fun now.

When we mean it to possess something, we cannot use it in continuous form. For example: I have a car. In this case, we cannot write it like I am having a car.

In the given sentence, "have" is used to means to possess the problems. So, it cannot be used as "having" and should be written as "have". So, the error is in part (A) of the sentence.

But how does someone possess a problem? We experience a problem as far as I know. Is it the phrase 'his problems' that gives a meaning of possession?

  • it's actually a paid online test series for English and aptitude. It's a question from their test series. I can post the link but I don't think it will work. gradeup.co/… Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 11:16
  • If the language that follows "I have a car" is that of the website, then it's in error: the manager is having his problems is perfectly idiomatic, and it means that he "experiences" the problems, not that he "possesses" them. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 11:19
  • the same page you need to participate on the quiz. They show the answers after your attempt and score. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


The first thing I noticed is the poor grammar used in the explanatory text. However, let's put that aside and address your question.

*The manager is having his problems but we have ours as well.

This doesn't work overall. In a comparison sentence such as this one, you must use the tenses and moods consistently:

*The manager is having his problems but we are having ours as well.

The manager has his problems but we have ours as well.

But is "The manager is having his problems" grammatical? Here, it starts getting complicated.

The manager is having problems.

The manager is having problems with X.

These are both fine and correct. You can replace "having" with "experiencing" without changing the meaning of the sentence.

However, "his problems" indicates that the problems are his, therefore he owns or possesses them, not that he is experiencing them.

When we add the matching clause, we must either repeat "problems" or skip "having":

The manager is having problems but we are having problems as well.

The manager is having problems but we are as well.

Compare this with:

I am having great fun now.

Whose fun am I having? This is a nonsensical question. I'm just having fun, not someone's fun.

However, as a counter example:

He is having his childhood all over again.

This is a correct way to say that he is experiencing his childhood. A childhood is a period of life that is experienced. A problem (in the sense of a difficulty) is not something specific, so his problems are constantly changing. I think that's why "having his problems" doesn't work, because the problems are not definite and fixed. They're not (all) the problems he has, they're just some problems he has.


If you can substitute a form of the verb OWN for HAVE in a sentence, there's a 99% chance that the -ING form would be unidiomatic:

The oil tycoon has [owns] several paintings by Cezanne.

The oil tycoon is having several paintings by Cezanne. unidiomatic

The oil tycoon is owning several paintings by Cezanne.unidiomatic

If the verb experience makes sense, then the -ING form will too.

My car is having [experiencing] problems. The "check-engine" light has come on.

The office manager was having [experiencing] a bad day. Several employees had quit unexpectedly, speaking their minds as they went out the door.

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