This question was asked in some exam. I am not sure whether "Have" should be converted to "had" or the sentence itself has no passive form. I think,

Active: I am having the knowledge.
Passive: The know ledge is being had by me. -- Incorrect.

I think is and had can't go together.

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    Idiomatically, this information is known to me is "normal English", but I am having the knowledge isn't an acceptable construction (except maybe in Indian English). Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:00
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    Have in this sense is a stative predicate and the progressive construction requires an active predicate. Hence *I am having the knowledge is ungrammatical and has no passive form -- nor an active one, for that matter. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:03
  • If you just want the form of a progressive passive, use an active verb phrase like eat the watermelon. The children are eating the watermelon is active, and its passive is The watermelon is being eaten by the children. Progressive be + V-ing comes before Passive be + V-pple. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:06
  • Sorry but I don't know very much grammar. I've asked to migrate this question Please explain in simple language.
    – user31782
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:09
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the asker has requested it move to a community where the explanations will be simpler. I therefore suggest ELL. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Certain verbs, perhaps in certain usages, don't allow passivisation (or even the reverse transformation). 'Have' (= 'possess', 'experience' or 'trick') is one of these.

This suit fits him. <=/=> *He is fitted by this suit.

Mr Sutton, his old tailor, fitted him for a suit. <==> He was fitted by Mr Sutton ...

Tom met Mary by chance. <=/=> *Mary was met by Tom by chance.

Tom met Mary at the station as planned. <==> Mary was met by Tom at the station as planned.

I have a car. <=/=> *A car is had by me.

We had a ball. <=/=> *A ball was had by us.

?Jack's friends had him. <=?=> Jack was had by his friends.

We/they all had a good time. <==> A good time was had by all.

  • Noting this from 1952: it was a gala day, and to coin a phrase, "a good time was had by all," I suspect even that one started out as a deliberately "quirky" usage. It's just been repeated so often we've gotten used to it - but as you say, the usage isn't normally extended to other contexts. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 20:09
  • From Answers: << "A good time was had by all" was the title of a book of poems by a Miss Stevie Smith in 1937. According to "A dictionary of catch phrases" (see related link) Miss Smith's book popularized the phrase, but Smith herself had taken it from parish magazines, where reports of church picnics would end with that phrase. >> It's no picnic trying to find the 'related link'. I'm sure you're right about the quirky origin. Perhaps the picnics included the left-over Communion wine? Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 10:25
  • Ah. From Google Answers<<The language expert Eric Partridge apparently stated in A Dictionary of Catch Phrases (London, 1977): "In 1937, the late Miss Stevie Smith's book of verse, A Good Time Was Had By All appeared; and within five years in Britain and by 1950 at latest in the US, the words of the title had become a catch phrase.... Perhaps six months before Stevie Smith's death, I wrote to her and asked whether she had coined the phrase or adopted and popularized it. Her explanation was startlingly Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 10:29
  • ... simple: she took it from parish magazines, where a church picnic...or other sociable occasion, almost inevitably generated the comment, 'A good time was had by all.'">> Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 10:29

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