'Have a Headache' or 'Have Headache'. Which is Correct?

We say the expression “have a headache” to refer to a continuous pain in the head. The expressions “have headache” and “having a headache” are incorrect.

We use the expression “have a headache” (with the article "a") to refer to a continuous pain in the head.

If you have a headache, you should stay home.

The constructions "have headache” and “having a headache” are incorrect.

If you have headache, you should stay home.

If you are having a headache, you should stay home.

Follow the same strategy when using other related expressions, such as “get a headache”, “experience a headache”, “cause a headache”, etc.

She got a headache after drinking too much.

Most people experience a headache at least once in their lives.

1. Why Do We Need a Determiner before ‘Headache’?

Since it can be counted, the word headache is countable noun in English.

I had two terrible headaches last week.

When a countable noun is singular, it takes an article (a, an, or the) or another determiner (my, your, this, that, etc.).

I had a headache yesterday.

The headache was caused by eyesight problems.

How can my headache be managed?

A partial list of other symptom names that take a/an:

2. How to Use the Plural Form (Headaches)

The word headache is commonly used in its singular form because people have only a headache at a time. However, it also has a plural form.

Many headaches are caused by stress and lack of sleep.

When referring to a specific group, plural countable nouns (like headache) should be preceded by a number (two, five, etc.), a quantifier (some, many, etc.), an identifier (this, that, etc.), or a possessive pronoun (my, your, his, her, etc.).

These should help with the headaches that you’ve been experiencing.

You can also use “headaches” in a general sense. In this situation, countable nouns, including symptom nouns, take no article.

Headaches can be one of the early warning signs of a more serious condition.

A wide variety of medicines can cause headaches.

3. Headache as a Synonym of Problem

The noun “headache” can also be used, as a synonym of problem, to describe a thing or person that causes difficulty a worry.

This can create an administrative headache for market participants.

Meetings had become a major headache for us.

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