having an aerobics class

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ultramarine, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Ultramarine

    Ultramarine Senior Member

    Hello everybody,
    I am describing pictures from a coursebook. In one of the pictures there are some women doing aerobics, in another there is a young man learning to drive, in the third there is a buiseness man who is in a meeting. Can I use the verb 'have' in progressive to describe what the people are doing? Is it normal?
    In picture A the women are having an aerobics class.
    In picture B the man is having a driving lesson.
    In picture C the man is having a meeting,

    I know that we can say 'I'm having a shower/lunch now", but I am not sure if it works with my words.
    Many thanks
  2. Hikee

    Hikee Senior Member

    Polish/English - bilingual
    Yes, you can, but I'd look for more varied replacements myself:

    For example, in the picture C, you could say that "the man is attending a meeting". In B "the man is [simply] learning to drive". "Having" would be best suited for the A sentence though.
  3. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    The verb to take is often associated with class(es).

    "The women are taking a class".
  4. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    In picture A the women are having an aerobics class. Sounds perfectly normal, though as Hikee says teachers see it as their job to try to get children to use less generic verbs than have in this sort of context.
    In picture B the man is having a driving lesson. Ditto.
    In picture C the man is having a meeting, Having a meeting sounds odd with a singular subject - you need at least two people to have a meeting.
  5. KathyK Member

    New York City area
    English (US)
    Perhaps this is a difference between BE and AE, but the sentences for Pictures A & B would sound very awkward on this side of the Atlantic, even though they are grammatically correct. SwissPete correctly points out the way Americans almost always talk about classes and instruction: use the verb "to take".

    The only time Americans use the verb "to have" for instruction is when there is a class on their schedule. A student might say "I have French class today."
  6. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I don't know about British English (I think they "take" meetings there, whereas we mostly don't in the U.S.), but "have a meeting" doesn't work for me as a substitute for attend or participate in a meeting. It's the convener or the organizer who has a meeting in the U.S. You can say "Let's have a meeting about that" for a mutual group decision to meet about someting, or "My boss is having a meeting about the recent fall in profits" if some subordinates are there unwillingly to explain their poor performance. You can also say "I have a meeting" in the sense of on my schedule: "I can't talk to you now, I have a meeting in five minutes" = I must attend a meeting in five minutes. That's similar to "I can't stay late at the office tonight because I have an appointment with my son's teacher."

    I didn't see any pictures, but if the man is chairing or presiding over the meeting—sitting at the head of the table, etc.—one can say that he is having a meeting. He might be having a meeting with his staff. But if he's not in charge of the meeting, then he is attending or participating in it, not having it.

    The same is true of holding a meeting: only the person organizing or in charge of it can hold it; everyone else attends or participates in it (there might be other verbs, too).
  7. Ultramarine

    Ultramarine Senior Member

    Thank you so much for your replies. I had difficulty deciding if 'have a class/lesson/meeting" can be used in progressive. Now I see it can.
    PS. My book was published by a British publisher.

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