Do I have to use have in the present simple or present continuous when talking about being in a relationship. For example:

Kate has a relationship with the guy.

Kate is having a ralationship with the guy.

I thought that the use of have in the present continuous in this context is totally incorrect, but the teacher in this video uses it in the progressive. It is at 4 minutes and 3 seconds. Is that some kind of new American grammar?


Whoever told you that have isn't used in the present continuous was wrong - or more likely, what you were told was incomplete.

When we use have to mean possess, we don't use it in the present continuous. But in other uses, the present continuous is possible and even common:

I am having (eating) lunch
I am having a good time
I am not having any luck with this
I am having second thoughts about this
I am having a baby
I am having people over for dinner

When we say I am having a relationship, the word have does not mean possess; rather, the phrase means I am in a relationship.

This particular phrase is more complicated than some of the examples listed above, because you can possess a relationship - or something close. If I say, "I have a relationship with my father," this is (more or less) the possession meaning of have. So I cannot say, "I am having a relationship with my father." Or rather, I can, but it would sound strange, because it would imply that I am in a romantic relationship with my father.

This is just another of those annoying things about English. Relationship has multiple meanings - one being romantic, one being platonic or familial. Typically, we use a different verb for those two meanings: be in a relationship is romantic; have a relationship is not.

And, if that weren't already confusing enough, having a relationship means being in a romantic relationship.



No, it is not. If you want only to underscore the fact of having relationship, you use the Present Simple of 'have' or 'have got' (BrE). If you want to underscore the fact that you are enjoying a special kind of a relationship now that affects you, you use the Present Continuous Tense of 'have.'

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