I was having a walk when the dog suddenly bit me.

My colleague felt 'having a walk' is not appropriate, and that the correct expression is 'going for a walk' or 'taking a walk'.

Why is "having a walk" incorrect?

  • 2
    I have noticed that British people are often more likely to use "have" about certain things where Americans say "take", e.g. walks, baths, breaks. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 7:09
  • 1
    Your colleague is right. have is not an idiomatic collocation with walk -- take is. Look up use cases in a good dictionary.
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 7:21
  • 9
    Kris, have is a perfectly idiomatic collocation with walk for a large and significant part of the Anglosphere. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 7:35
  • Also see english.stackexchange.com/questions/5976/…
    – microenzo
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 8:29
  • 1
    Yes, no “wow” factor here. Dare I say it’s a somewhat pedestrian question ;-) Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Your sentence is grammatically correct.

'To have a walk' is similar to such phrases as 'to have a shower / lunch, etc.

The phrase 'to take a walk' is a synonym of 'to have a walk'.

'To go for a walk' is not appropriate in your case because it is used rather for an intention to walk than a process of walking.

  • 2
    I disagree. To me, 'go for a walk' is synonymous with 'take a walk'. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 9:03
  • 2
    This "intention" business, which is not really a rule carved in stone, would have some legitimacy if the suggestion had been: "I was going to go for a walk" Instead, "I was going for a walk" clearly expresses an action in progressive at the time of speaking. The speaker's intention has little to do with it.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 11:58
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA To me, “I was going for a walk when X happened” means that I was just putting on my coat, or on my way out the door – it’s not about intent, but the state of being mid-walk has also not been reached yet. The go bit to me means ‘go out’ or ‘leave’, with for a walk meaning ‘in order to walk for pleasure’, so the present continuous means being in the process of leaving in order to walk for pleasure, i.e., just on the way out the door. Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 0:46
  • 2
    @JanusBahsJacquet it can be either, it can express a decision taken some time in the past "I'm going to go for a walk" or it can anticipate an action, "We were going to have a walk when it started to rain" (about to)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 0:53
  • 2
    To me this has nothing to do with grammatical or not. "Walk" is a noun, you can have it. The question seems to be a semantic or idiomatic one. Can I "have an electron"? When you think about it "take a walk" should be more strange than "have a walk", as "have" can mean to experience something, like have fun, have difficulty, have dinner. cf. "take fun", "take difficulty" "take dinner".. The claim seems pretty arbitrary unless the insistence is that "take a walk" is idiomatic and "have a walk" isn't, in which case all they're saying is that people usually say X instead of Y, in their opinion
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 6:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.