'Relax' or 'Relax Oneself'? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 24 March 2024)

Part 2

1. The continuous form ('are having') is unacceptable. Have is a non-continuous verb when it means 'to possess' or 'to own':

I have a car.
I am having a car.

Sam has twenty dollars.
Sam is having twenty dollars.

Susan has lots of friends.
Susan is having lots of friends.

Do you have a calculator?
Are you having a calculator?

Anna has a pleasant personality.
Anna is having a pleasant personality.

Have can be continuous only when it expresses an action or an experience:

We are having pizza for lunch.
They are having a meeting now.
I'm having so much fun right now.
Tom was having dinner when I called.
Susan was having nightmares for many weeks after the accident.

2. We can relax our muscles, but we don't 'relax ourselves'—the verb has no object in that case:

Just sit down and try to relax.
Just sit down and try to relax yourself.

After a hard day at work, I just want to relax.
After a hard day at work, I just want to relax myself.

Chris finished his work and then relaxed in the sun.
Chris finished his work and then relaxed himself in the sun.

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Also by Spencer Lam

Part 1: Should We Say 'A Tiger', 'The Tiger', or 'Tigers'?
Part 3: 'Exchange Program' or 'Exchanging Program'?
Part 4: 'Yours sincerely' or 'Yours faithfully'?
Part 5: Should We Say 'Take Bus', 'Take the Bus', or 'Take a Bus'?
Part 6: 'I Afraid' or 'I Am Afraid'?
Part 7: 'Date Someone' or 'Date with Someone'?
Part 8: A Missing Relative Pronoun
Part 9: Are 'Basketball', 'Football', and 'Badminton' Countable or Uncountable?
Part 10: 'Every Time' or 'Every Time When'?
Part 11: Should 'Mum' Be Capitalised? (Read this blog post for a more in-depth discussion of the topic.)
Part 12: 'Grammar' or 'Grammer'?

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