have a cough

taked4700

Senior Member
japanese japan
Hi,

Let me ask some questions about having a cough.

When someone are coughing for some time, I mean the person are making several noises exhaling breath from his lung, do you say, "He has coughs/ is having coughs."?

Or, you just see a person making a noise at a time , in other words, you cannot see a person coughing more than twice at a time, so you only say, "He has a cough/ is having a cough."

If there are more than two persons, and they are coughing at the same time, do you describe them having coughs, instead of having a cough?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    We would use the verb 'cough' if we refer only to the action. 'Have a cough' sounds like cough as a symptom of illness. There could be an overlap depending on the context.

    People coughed throughout the performance.

    He has a bad cough and a fever.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    Thank you, Hermione.

    When more than two persons are coughing,

    1. They have a cough.
    2. They have coughs.

    1. seems to be right.

    When one person is coughing slightly while another one is coughing very seriously,

    3. They seem to have different types of cough.
    4. They have coughs.

    I guess both would be right.

    Thanks in advance.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    2 and 4 seem odd to me.
    If both my parents are ill I’d report that as “They both have a cough.”

    I supppse a medical person distinguishing between coughs with different characteristics migh use a plural. I’ve never noticed it, but it is possible.

    By the way: in your OP you said someone ARE coughing. I’m sure you know that should be IS coughing.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    We would use the verb 'cough' if we refer only to the action. 'Have a cough' sounds like cough as a symptom of illness. There could be an overlap depending on the context.

    People coughed throughout the performance.

    He has a bad cough and a fever.
    If we are at the doctor's, can I use the present continuous to express a temporary action?

    A: What's the matter?
    B: My son has a bad cough and a fever. = My son is coughing badly and has a fever.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    2 and 4 seem odd to me.
    If both my parents are ill I’d report that as “They both have a cough.”

    I supppse a medical person distinguishing between coughs with different characteristics migh use a plural. I’ve never noticed it, but it is possible.

    By the way: in your OP you said someone ARE coughing. I’m sure you know that should be IS coughing.
    Thank you, Suzi br. I completely did not notice it.

    And I just remember that I made a mistake in the past that I wrote something like "Everything I do are right."
    Maybe everything and something and someone would be a devil word to me, but one thing and one person would possibly be an angel word to me. That is my wish.

    Thanks again,
    taked4700
     
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