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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » Town's Crier » Have had vs had had vs had...?
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Topic Subject:Have had vs had had vs had...?
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remato
Squire
posted 08-08-08 04:49 PM CT (US)         
Native speakers,



help!


I got these confusing sentences from BBC, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv343.shtml.
If she had had children later in life, she would have been a better mother.
What's the difference between that sentence and "If she had children later in life, she would have been a better mother"?
She'd had a lot to drink and wasn't capable of walking home by herself.
What's the difference between that and "She had a lot to drink and wasn't capable of walking home by herself"?

The thing is, I don't quite understand why English ancestors came up with a concept so baffling as "had had" and "have had", when to me it seems as if there's no difference between these two and "had". How should I know when to use "have had", "had had", and "had" appropriately?
AuthorReplies:
Evil Tailor
Squire
(id: Other White Meat)
posted 08-10-08 03:42 PM CT (US)     26 / 45       
You couldn't have put it better. Eagle, I could kiss you and call you Quetzalcoatl but both you AND Aro would consider that strange and inappropriate so I won't.

"While I'm profaning I might as well do the whole f*cking thing."
-- Christopher Hitchens
http://soundcloud.com/adult-entertainment - Intriguing music! Made by me! (It's excellent!)
remato
Squire
posted 08-10-08 08:17 PM CT (US)     27 / 45       
Wow...

Still extremely confusing, but I'm beginning to understand something, albeit little.

So I think I've understood "She'd had a lot to drink and wasn't capable of walking home by herself."

Yet, I still don't get the reasoning behind the second had in "If she had had children later in life, she would have been a better mother." Wouldn't using just one "had" make sense just as much as using two 'had's? URRRRRRRRRg
Lord Fenris
Banned
posted 08-11-08 00:25 AM CT (US)     28 / 45       
I'm no master of the language, but I think "had had" is correct in most of the contexts this thread has placed it in. In fact, I feel "She had had a lot to drink and wasn't capable of walking home by herself" to be more natural than "She had a lot to drink and wasn't capable of walking home." But somehow I can't explain why.

[This message has been edited by Areknore (edited 08-11-2008 @ 00:26 AM).]

Eaglehaslanded
Squire
posted 08-11-08 04:09 AM CT (US)     29 / 45       
Well, you can think of it like this. If you say I have had this experience before, it means that in the past, this happened to you, but if you say I had had this experience before now, it means that even in the past, you had already had the experience before some that in the past.
For example.
'I have had the experience before so I am more prepared today.'
Talking about the past with reference to the present


'I had had the experience before so I was more prepared on Friday.'
You had the experience at one point in the past so that at a later point which is still in the past, you had the experience to aid you. This is talking about the past with reference to a point closer in the past.



Example 2
Country is at war in 1984-85
Another war starts again today.
"we have had experience of war before so we are more capable this time"

Whereas

Country at war 1984-85
Country at war 1994-6
"When war started in 1994, we had had experience of war before, so we were more capable at that time.


Sorry I can't explain any better, but the intricacies of English are somewhat complex.

.^/¯/        Eaglehaslanded
  \  /~   
  ///      You, sir, are a wench - Scud
 '' ''     You, Sir, are a wrench - Reach
Stephen Richards
Squire
posted 08-11-08 02:53 PM CT (US)     30 / 45       
That site does explain it, though perhaps not very well. It's the past perfect tense which I guess most languages have. It's used to relate and place in order events which happened in the past and is of the form had + past participle.
If she had had children later in life, she would have been a better mother.
The verb is "to have children" so the past participle is "had children". This relates to the past and is talking about something which can not now happen.
If she had children later in life, she would have been a better mother.
This isn't right because the first part relates to something that could still happen (she hasn't had any children yet but if she had them in a year...), but the "if" means the second part is conditional on the first and if she hasn't had children yet how can she be a better mother. It would have to be rewritten:
"If she had children later in life, she would be a better mother."

There are two "hads" only because the verb is to have children. A different example:

"If she had written a letter, she would have been a better person."
OR
"If she wrote a letter, she would be a better person."

Clear as mud?
Eaglehaslanded
Squire
posted 08-11-08 03:50 PM CT (US)     31 / 45       
Nonono.
Those 2 aren't interchangeable.

"If she had written a letter, she would have been a better person."
OR
"If she wrote a letter, she would be a better person."

The first means that if she had written the letter she would have been a better person in the past, and the second means that if she had written a letter, she would be a better person now.

.^/¯/        Eaglehaslanded
  \  /~   
  ///      You, sir, are a wench - Scud
 '' ''     You, Sir, are a wrench - Reach
Julius999
Imposter
posted 08-11-08 04:05 PM CT (US)     32 / 45       
You have misinterpreted Mr Richards, he's demonstrating the difference.

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KayanZ
Squire
(id: ZayanK)
posted 08-11-08 05:09 PM CT (US)     33 / 45       
Yo hablo espanol
No, seņor, yo hablo espaņol.

And had had makes perfect sense to me. In spanish, however, for the verb "to have" we have "haber" and "tener", so there's no confusion.
Stephen Richards
Squire
posted 08-11-08 07:38 PM CT (US)     34 / 45       
Eaglehaslanded: you're completely correct (as is Julius)!

In fact I learnt more about grammar when I was taught German aged 15-16. German, and I reckon French and others, is worse because of the three genders. At least there is only one word for 'the' in English.
Gwame
Squire
posted 08-11-08 11:20 PM CT (US)     35 / 45       
In fact I learnt more about grammar when I was taught German aged 15-16.
Same here. You have Male, Female, Neutral, and the Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive. Quite a pain. Makes you appreciate English.

MY NAME IS GWAME I AM AOKH MEMBER SINCE 2004 AND I HAVE MANY POSTS
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BEST SIG OF 2008
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morgoth bauglir
Squire
posted 08-12-08 01:42 AM CT (US)     36 / 45       
Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ und Genitiv have no "e".

I think German is a kickass language. Lotta rules, but same with DnD!

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Gwame
Squire
posted 08-12-08 06:27 AM CT (US)     37 / 45       
I was using the English words, not the German words. You fail at differentiating languages .

MY NAME IS GWAME I AM AOKH MEMBER SINCE 2004 AND I HAVE MANY POSTS
BEST SIG OF 2008 AND 2ND BEST SIG OF 2009 (SAME SIG LOLOL)
BEST SIG OF 2008
92% of teenagers have moved on to rap music. If you're on of the 8% that still listens to real music, copy this into your signature.
"^`'*-=~+,._.,+~=-*'`^" "Gwame your sig ain't funny nomore." - morgoth bauglir"^`'*-=~+,._.,+~=-*'`^"
morgoth bauglir
Squire
posted 08-12-08 06:58 AM CT (US)     38 / 45       
No, I just wanted to show everyone Ich kann Deutsch sprechen.

Morgoth Bauglir/Quaazi - BORINGMETAL HEADTWAT
Huidin's Belief - The Siege (4.4) - 2475 - Birth Of The Uruk-Hai (4.1) (Best Sound of 2008)
Signature currently under construction. If you want to help out and provide me with the resources needed, download from the above links.
Gwame
Squire
posted 08-12-08 08:04 AM CT (US)     39 / 45       
So you decided to correct a non-existant mistake just to show off your language skills?

MY NAME IS GWAME I AM AOKH MEMBER SINCE 2004 AND I HAVE MANY POSTS
BEST SIG OF 2008 AND 2ND BEST SIG OF 2009 (SAME SIG LOLOL)
BEST SIG OF 2008
92% of teenagers have moved on to rap music. If you're on of the 8% that still listens to real music, copy this into your signature.
"^`'*-=~+,._.,+~=-*'`^" "Gwame your sig ain't funny nomore." - morgoth bauglir"^`'*-=~+,._.,+~=-*'`^"
remato
Squire
posted 08-13-08 11:07 PM CT (US)     40 / 45       
Incredible...even the electromagnetic formulas in physics are way easier than this!
'I have had the experience before so I am more prepared today.'
Talking about the past with reference to the present
So how would that be different from "I had the experience before so I am more prepared today". Wouldn't they essentially have the same meaning?
This isn't right because the first part relates to something that could still happen (she hasn't had any children yet but if she had them in a year...), but the "if" means the second part is conditional on the first and if she hasn't had children yet how can she be a better mother. It would have to be rewritten:
"If she had children later in life, she would be a better mother."
Let me simplify this: so are you saying that the problem is that, because the former part is about something that's gonna happen in the present while the latter part is about something in the past, and because changing something in the present won't change the past, the sentence is wrong?
Eaglehaslanded
Squire
posted 08-14-08 05:07 AM CT (US)     41 / 45       
So how would that be different from "I had the experience before so I am more prepared today". Wouldn't they essentially have the same meaning?
Because it just isn't right. Say it out load. It sticks in the gullet. In English, unlike many other languages, once can omit certain words without becoming exactly, incorrect. The two phrases "I had this before" and "I have had this before" are in different tenses. "I have had this before" Is the past perfect tense, whereas "I had this before" Is the preterite or the simple past tense.

.^/¯/        Eaglehaslanded
  \  /~   
  ///      You, sir, are a wench - Scud
 '' ''     You, Sir, are a wrench - Reach

[This message has been edited by Eaglehaslanded (edited 08-14-2008 @ 05:07 AM).]

Stephen Richards
Squire
posted 08-14-08 07:31 AM CT (US)     42 / 45       
I have had the experience before so I am more prepared today.
This is the present perfect tense. It is used to describe something which happened at an unspecified time in the past (so you wouldn't say "I have had the experience yesterday") or something which started in the past and is still continuing now (eg. I have had a headache for several hours.)
I had the experience before so I am more prepared today
This is the simple past tense. It is used to describe something which happened at a specific time in the past (even if this specific time is not mentioned). So you could say I had the experience yesterday, unlike the above.
Let me simplify this: so are you saying that the problem is that, because the former part is about something that's gonna happen in the present while the latter part is about something in the past, and because changing something in the present won't change the past, the sentence is wrong?
Almost, although the first part is not something that is going to happen. It relates to what would have happened if she'd had children.

I think you need a proper English teacher really.
Eaglehaslanded
Squire
posted 08-14-08 08:32 AM CT (US)     43 / 45       
Well, I got it almost right.

.^/¯/        Eaglehaslanded
  \  /~   
  ///      You, sir, are a wench - Scud
 '' ''     You, Sir, are a wrench - Reach
remato
Squire
posted 08-14-08 07:16 PM CT (US)     44 / 45       
I think you need a proper English teacher really.
True. Native English speaking teachers are scarece here, and even if there were, I wouldn't be able to afford any. So I've got no other choice than to self-educate myself with books. And sometimes, books aren't that helpful.

Thanks for your post BTW, it helped me rectify some grammatical questions .
Andanu Trisatya
Squire
posted 08-16-08 06:20 AM CT (US)     45 / 45       
Wow. And I'm the one who thought that 'had had' was nothing more than a typical typo in every English exam back in high school.

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