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I wish I had had In ESL podcast there is a dialog about unscrupulous partner, in which there is a sentence: "I wish I had had the benefit of hindsight to say "no". (On the question about doing business together). I`m not sure I understand the grammar of double "had". The construction that looks like "I wish I had something" is very common and emphasize that one wants to have something but he doesn't. But in this case where is the second "had" has come from? Could you please give some explanations.
May 28, 2013 7:02 AM
Answers · 6
It's the past perfect tense. You can read more about it from that site and others, now that you know what to search for. Explaining it here is difficult due to comment length limits (and I also want to go to sleep).
May 28, 2013
One had is to place the event in the past, and the other had is to indicate possession. If it was like this: "I wish I had the benefit of hindsight to say no" the sentence isn't explicitly located in the past.
May 28, 2013
If you say, "I wish I had X", then it is a wish about the present situation. The use of the past tense is a subjunctive verb form here (notice there is no time indication given for this verb). "I wish I had had X" is a wish about a past situation. This double had is - as other members have pointed out - a past perfect form. The first "had" is the auxiliary verb. The second "had" never changes, as it is a past participle. If you change it to present perfect, you'll see "have had".
May 28, 2013
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English, Russian
Learning Language