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Why do they use "had " twice ? Hi :) What does " i had had " mean ? Why do they use "had " twice ?
Sep 25, 2019 11:08 PM
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Answers · 4
The word "have" can be a regular verb ("I have a cat"), but it can also be a modal verb ("I have seen this movie"). As a modal verb, "have" is used for forming the present prefect tense. To form the past perfect tense, you use "had." Present tense: "I have a cat now." Past tense: "I had a cat when I moved to Italy." Present perfect tense: "I have had a cat for three years now." Past perfect tense: "When I moved to Italy, I had had a cat for three years." The first "had" is a modal verb and shows that the tense is past perfect. The second "had" is a normal verb. "By the time I was seven, I had attended three different schools." "Before I moved to Italy, I had already seen many Italian movies." "He invited me to go to a restaurant with him, but I had had dinner already." (Beaten by Jerry again! See his answer for a good description of how the tenses work.)
September 25, 2019
Jerry and Gray are spot on (= exactly right). I will just add that, particularly in speech (but also in informal writing), we tend to say "I'd had" (and not "I had had"). Or "She'd had", "We'd had" etc.
September 26, 2019
Good question. One I've answered before. Here is what I told them. To understand “had had,” we need to take a look at the present perfect and past perfect tenses. Take this sentence: “I have had too many chocolates today.” That sentence is in the present perfect tense. You use that tense when you’re talking about a past action that is continuing into the present. This sentence means that I started eating chocolates in the past but the chocolate eating is continuing up to the present. Present perfect tense uses “has” and “have” plus the past participle, as in “have had” and “has gone.” Now let’s put the chocolate sentence in the past tense. To do so, we’ll use past perfect tense, which uses “had” plus the past participle, as in “had had” and “had gone.” So in the sentence “I had had too many chocolates, so I was too full to eat dinner yesterday,” two things happened in the past. First was eating chocolates; second was trying to eat dinner. When you have two past-tense occurrences, you use past perfect to express the action that came first. If you are using the verb “to have” in past perfect, you need to use two “had”s. I hope this helps, Jerry (Teacher)
September 25, 2019
Thank you @Jerry @Gray @Teacher Sheena for your helpful answers =)
September 26, 2019
LEE_l
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English, Other
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