The waiter: "Hello sir, what would you like to drink?"

Sir James: "I'll have a brandy"

Is still correct/common in English if Sir James answers:

"I have a brandy" (without "will")

I know I can say: "I have a brandy every saturday night".

  • 1
    I think the answer is in your question. Your last sentence shows a routine, not exactly an answer for the given question. You need to use will.
    – Schwale
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 16:30
  • 2
    No, Marco, "I have a brandy" would not work as an answer/request here, no matter what the name of the person is. Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 17:05
  • 4
    If Sir James says "I have a brandy", then he's telling the waiter he already has a brandy so he doesn't need another one. If he says "I'll have a brandy" he's accepting the waiter's offer to bring a new one so that he will have one in the near future.
    – The Photon
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 5:43
  • 1
    @Marco, if Sir James is standing at the bar with his drink in his and and his friend walks up and asks "what are you drinking?" Then Sir James might answer "I'm having a brandy".
    – The Photon
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 22:43
  • 2
    He'd only say "I have a brandy" in very contrived circumstances. If someone asks him "what do you have in your hands?" or "What do you usually drink at a picnic?", maybe. It would not be usual to answer "I have a brandy" when a waiter asks what you'd like.
    – The Photon
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 3:40

3 Answers 3


I'll have a brandy tells the barkeep to bring the speaker a brandy. So you would use this to order a brandy.

I have a brandy doesn't tell the barkeep much of anything. S/he might wink and ask if you'll have another. It could imply since I already have a brandy, I don't need another now. So, no you would not say this if you want to order an initial or another brandy.

I'm having a brandy tells your friends what you have ordered or plan to order. (It is like I'm going to have a brandy.)

You could also use this to order a brandy, but usually only when telling the barkeep/waiter what you are having as well as what your friends are having. Well, let's see, I'm having a brandy and Brandi is having a whiskey soda and Martin is having a martini. Here you are ordering a brandy "indirectly" by telling the server what everyone wants to have. This usage is not so pragmatic if you are by yourself.

You could say I'll a brandy have and be understood, if a bit lyrically.

  • Well, what if I'm sitting at the bar drinking my brandy and a friend of mine comes toward me and he asks me: "Hello Marco, what are you drinking now?" How shall I answer to him? "I'm having a brandy" or "I have a brandy"? Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 15:20
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    @MarcoDemaio How many times can the simple present rule be repeated? It is only for general idea. [How should I answer him.]
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 17:05
  • @Lambie repeating does good! ;) Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 13:49
  • 1
    @MarcoDemaio Repeating it is good.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 14:41
  • @Lambie thanks, I'm probably using the wrong tools to learn English glosbe.com/la/en/repetita%20juvant Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 10:27

In response to the question

Hello sir, what would you like to drink?

If Sir James answers

I will have a brandy

it means he would like a brandy to be served to him, in the future
If Sir James answers

I have a brandy

he is telling the waiter he already has a drink, in the present

Sir James has a brandy every Saturday night.
Sir James will have a brandy every Saturday night.

are both correct since it is a repetitive action of drinking brandy.

My wife goes shopping every chance she gets.
My wife will go shopping whenever she is in town.

  • Ok. You say: if Sir James answers "I have a brandy" he is telling the waiter he already has a drink, in the present. But in such a situation wouldn't Sir James say to the waiter: "I'm having a brandy" and not "I have a brandy"? Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 17:13
  • 1
    Don't you think "I have a brandy" sounds a bit weird? He hasn't been served yet.
    – V.V.
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 17:17
  • 1
    @V.V. - Yes, it does sound weird, but that's the whole point: it isn't something you would say unless you had already been served.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 20:08
  • It would also be rude to say: I have a brandy, in response to the waiter. I already have a brandy.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 17:08
  • @Lambie let's say I already have a brandy in my hands, and the waiter asks me: "would you like something else to drink?" What should I answer him? "no thanks I already have a brandy" or "no thanks I'm already having a brandy" Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 13:58

Take Peter’s answer first, but “I have a brandy” often means “I’ll have a brandy, but I’m too lazy to use the English language properly”.

So unless you hold a brandy in your hand, if you tell the barkeeper “I have a brandy”, he or she will serve you a brandy. They might ask “one brandy?” to make sure there is no misunderstanding.

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