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Past Perfect Tense

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Badri Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Past Perfect Tense

Post Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:58 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    In the following sentence, is the use of "had" twice correct?

    If she had had more money, she would have bought a bigger house.

    I feel it should be used only once. Is there a specific rule for such sentences. This appeared in one of the grammar books.

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    jayhawk2001 Community Manager
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    Post Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:59 pm
    When there are 2 events in the past, the earlier event uses the past
    perfect form of the verb i.e. had + <verb>

    Now, there are cases where one has to use "had" in its actual form
    i.e. to possess. Sentences involving such a construction uses the rather
    weird "had had" verb form to denote that this event happened prior
    to another in the past.

    "If she had had more money, she would have bought a bigger house"

    In the sentence above, "bought" already denotes the past. So, it is
    correct to use "had had"

    Badri Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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    Post Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:03 pm
    So, If I understand you correctly, if we use "had" only once, then both events would be in the past tense and that would not set up a correct time relation.

    So "had had" achieves that.....got it! ...Thanks

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    Stacey Koprince GMAT Instructor
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    Post Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:22 pm
    Exactly! And if you wanted to use just one "had," you'd say:

    If she had more money, she would buy a bigger house

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    Cybermusings Legendary Member Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:23 am
    Thank you once again JayHawk...Very good explanation

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