In my book I found a sentence:

I was having a holiday by seaside last summer when I ran into captain Robinson.

I think there are two errors in this sentence. The first one is that there should be spending instead of having, and the second one is there should be the seaside.
Correct me if I am wrong?
I am not sure about if having is incorrect here.

  • Better off IMHO = "I was having a seaside holiday last summer when I ran into captain Robinson"
    – learner
    Dec 17, 2014 at 8:48
  • Yeah but be cautious, there, it serves as an adjective.
    – Maulik V
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


Spending a holiday = having a holiday

Both mean the same that you are enjoying (not working) somewhere and that day is a holiday.

From Jakarta Post

Nusa Dua tourist enclave boasts some of the island’s most exclusive hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. All are set alongside nearly 5 kilometers of well-preserved white sandy beach. Spending a holiday with the family and golf buddies, therefore, is not an impossible feat to accomplish.

And, if someone is on holiday, they are having a holiday.

About the article, I'll go with you! And so do many news articles

Also, this will help you.


I'd poke a very tentative alternative explanation for this…

I don't doubt the two terms are pretty much interchangeable, but I feel there is a slightly different flavour to them.

'Having' a holiday is just that, you are on holiday, you are 'having' it, like you'd have an ice cream whilst you're there, or like you'd have a swim.

'Spending' I think is more interested in the 'time spent' & how you spent that time.
"I spent last August in the Dordogne."
"I spent a week on holiday in Spain."

So, referring back - you can 'spend a holiday' but you're really referring to the time you spent away from home.
To torture my analysis still further, you can't spend an ice cream, or a swim, but you can spend time eating ice cream or swimming.

All I really see wrong with the OP's sentence is it ought to be
"I was having a holiday by the seaside…" as was mentioned.
I would perhaps posit that
"I was spending my holiday by the seaside" would be a useable alternative, though I'm not sure why swapping 'a' to 'my' really fixes it; perhaps it adds the personal sense of 'time spent' to the sentence.

  • Now I am really confused. More information always not good for you. this is the same case with me.
    – starun008
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:13
  • 1
    Sometimes, it's not grammar, it's imagery that is important. "I had a holiday" - fact. "I spent time with friends on holiday" - imagination Dec 17, 2014 at 9:19
  • Simple! more info is for more interested people
    – learner
    Dec 17, 2014 at 10:16

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