1. I am always having a good time when I go to the cinema.
    I think it wrong.

  2. I always have a good time when I go to the cinema. - correct.

  3. She is always taking a shower when I arrive. - correct

  4. She always takes a shower when I arrive. - correct

What if I want to convey the order of actions of sentence 3 but with the verb HAVE?

1 is not available. Does it mean that it's not possible to convey this idea with the verb HAVE?

  1. She is always having a shower when I arrive.
    I think WRONG.

If you think that 5 is correct, then how come 1 is wrong?

  • Multiple questions. Usually you should pick a single question.
    – Boba Fit
    Dec 7, 2022 at 13:53
  • Where do you see multiple questions?
    – user1425
    Dec 7, 2022 at 15:01
  • Questions end with a question mark.
    – Boba Fit
    Dec 7, 2022 at 15:23
  • Only if you see things in a shallow way as you do.
    – user1425
    Dec 7, 2022 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


1 is wrong, but 5 is correct.

The difference is you can only use verbs that describe temporary actions with [ present continuous + "when..." ]. To "have a good time" isn't an action, so sentence 1 makes no sense.

To "have a shower" is an action verb, so sentence 5 makes sense.

FWIW, I believe in Indian English, 1 would be correct and natural, but I can't say for sure.

  • I have been exposed recently to this sentence which is said to be correct "I pick my daughter up from daycare every afternoon. She is always having a good time when I arrive." Why is it correct?
    – user1425
    Dec 8, 2022 at 6:42
  • 1
    Good question. "Have a good time" can refer to an action someone is doing that is enjoyable, or to a feeling someone has because of their circumstances. The first is an action verb, so it works with present continuous, while the second is a state verb, so it doesn't work with present continuous. If a child is "having a good time", I picture her doing things like running, screaming, jumping in puddles, etc. But when an adult is "having a good time" at a party, it usually means they're just enjoying the atmosphere, rather than doing some enjoyable action.
    – gotube
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:02
  • It's very subtle
    – user1425
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:20

As you say, 1. is wrong and 2. is correct.

  1. and 4. don't mean the same thing.

No 3. means that you find her in the shower when you arrive.
No 4. means that when you arrive (and not before), she takes a shower.

Most people would say that she is taking a shower when you arrive rather than having a shower but the latter is quite possible, as long as you mean that she is in the shower rather than waiting for you to arrive in order to take one.

  • OK. I agree with your conclusions. But you didn't answer my question. I know what 3 and 4 mean, that's why I wonder how to express a similar idea which 3 has, but with the verb "have". If 1 is wrong then 5 is also wrong.
    – user1425
    Dec 7, 2022 at 10:59
  • 1
    I would disagree that having a shower is less common than taking a shower, and I find (5) perfectly idiomatic. Dec 7, 2022 at 16:00
  • The question is not about "taking" / "having" but I get your point.
    – user1425
    Dec 7, 2022 at 16:06
  • Kate Bunting, if 5 is idiomatic, why is 1 not?
    – user1425
    Dec 7, 2022 at 16:06
  • @KateBunting After a little consideration and consultation, I think that I might well disagree with myself. Dec 8, 2022 at 10:00

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