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Which is more accurate when describing the relationship between student and course?

the student has a course


the student takes a course
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A student takes a course – Armen Ծիրունյան May 18 '13 at 18:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Neither one is more accurate. We use them interchangeably. "I'm taking a course in astronomy." "He had a course in physics." "She has her sociology course this afternoon." "Do you take English?" "Abdennour has four courses this semester." "Abdennour took that course, but he didn't like it." "Abdennour has a French course this year." And so on.

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I don't think they are interchangeable: I think they are used in slightly different contexts. The has version tends to refer to a particular time period as shown in your examples: this afternoon, this semester, this year and can refer to when you actually have a lesson / session / tutorial for the specified course. The take form is perhaps more 'general': yes, you could say I'm taking a course in astronomy this year, but you wouldn't say I'm taking a course in astronomy this afternoon. I think take tends to refer to the whole course, whereas has may refer to individual sessions. – TrevorD May 18 '13 at 19:30
@TrevorD You're on target here. It's hard to have two different, essentially synonymous phrases or words that do NOT have slightly different connotations, otherwise there wouldn't be much reason to have both, right? So interchangeably is not absolutely precisely perfectly right, but for the most part I think it's the case. (I will aver that I could in fact say I'm taking a course this afternoon, even if the situation needs to be that the entire course occurs in one afternoon.) But the question was which is more "accurate," and I think we would agree accuracy isn't really the issue here. – John M. Landsberg May 18 '13 at 19:52
Nice answer!! thanks thanks . What about passive form? "the course is taken by Abdennour" :is it right? – Abdennour TOUMI May 18 '13 at 20:35
I'm not sure why you would want to say it in the passive form, since that's awkward and unusual, but if you really wanted to say it that way, I think you really would not want to use "have." Only "take" would be reasonable in this case. "The course was had by Abdennour" would be almost laughable, and really not natural or clear. – John M. Landsberg May 19 '13 at 5:47

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