1. Ubrechor
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    Ubrechor Active Member

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    Had had

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Ubrechor, Apr 20, 2011.

    "He had had this happen to him many times before."

    Is this correct? Is there another way of putting it that is generally less obvious than "had had"?
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's technically okay, but it is a bit annoying, and it's easy enough to work around.

    This had happened to him many times before.

    the "had had" basically emphasises what one "had" does fine.
     
  3. Hightower March
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    Hightower March New Member

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    It's grammatically correct. I'd get around the weird sound with a contraction.
    "He'd had this happen..."
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Contractions are fine, but it's best to avoid heavy use of them in narrative unless it's a first person or otherwise colloquially-inclined telling. It's not like I never use them, but it's best not to litter your prose with too many of them.

    If that was in speech, it'd be great though. :D
     
  5. Ubrechor
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    Ubrechor Active Member

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    Cheers, peoples! :)
     
  6. amementomori
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    amementomori New Member

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    I'd like to note that the use of the first "had"(s) is to imply further distance of the clause's state(tense), and that without that additional "had" the tense would be closer to the present -- even though the sentence is still written in past tense.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not really. The second had is the primary verb ikn past particple form, the first is the auxilliary verb that generates past perfect tense. Past perfect consists of the past partiple preceded by had.

    had given
    had proven
    had touched
    had lost
    had had
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's correct, but unwieldy... and is [borderline?] passive voice, which is generally to be avoided...

    the active voice 'this had happened to him before' may be better, depending on the context...
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that it's grammatically incorrect, but i'd probably rewrite it as "This had happened to him many times before."

    ChickenFreak
     

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