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The English verb forms: to have

  1. Apr 23, 2010 #1
    In English which if the following, if any, is incorrect and if so, why:

    having had; having had had; had had; had having had; has had had; having have had had. What tense to you call the last one? Can you say "He had had having had had" ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2010 #2
    It could be there are tricky and obscure constructions where they're all correct somehow, but the following seem impossible to me:

    having had had
    had having had
    has had had
    having had had had
    He had had having had had

    These are normal:

    having had
    had had

    "Joe had had a bad day. Having had a bad day, he went home and slept."
  4. Apr 24, 2010 #3
    Actually I didn't say "having had had had. It was "having have had had".

    This is all a bit tongue in cheek. I was challenged by these and other constructions by a friend who has a PhD in English. She is not a native speaker but was educated in British and US schools. So she has about 20 years of English behind her (from age 5)counting her graduate work. She comes up with terms like "participial clauses" and "hyper pluperfect tenses" and finds obscure examples which she says proves her right. I'd thought I'd get another opinion.

    By the way, the last item on your list of the "abnormal" needs a comma (which I omitted): so it should be: " "He had had, having had had......" Now she says that's OK too.

    There are more if anyone is interested. Thanks for your comments zoobyshoe. I guess, from your writing that you are a native speaker.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  5. Apr 24, 2010 #4
    Yes I'm a native speaker. If I've ever heard anyone say "He had had, having had had..." I must have dismissed it as stuttering. She is probably technically right, but the results are so infelicitous no sane writer would actually use them. Except, maybe, Anthony Burgess. There's a sentence he wrote about onions I wish I could dig up. She'd probably appreciate it.
  6. Apr 24, 2010 #5
    "Had anyone had the pleasure? He had had, having had had the honor as well."
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
  7. Apr 25, 2010 #6
    That's pretty hilarious, but I think it's probably technically correct. It is the type of thing you might find in an Anthony Burgess novel. He would have built up to it and triggered it to play out like a Rube Goldberg contraption. P.G. Wodehouse might also have tried something like this. Outside the proper comic setting, though, Occam's Razor would still raise the primary suspicion of a stammer.
  8. Apr 25, 2010 #7
    Well, it is in the same tense all the way through; the pluperfect (or in English I think it's called the past perfect). Note the initial elliptical independent clause and the final participial clause in the second sentence. This woman is a genius.
  9. Apr 25, 2010 #8


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    My favorite phrase like this is
    I know that that that that that that refers to is ...​
    It's easier to understand when spoken than when written, though.
  10. Apr 25, 2010 #9

    Did you read the Enderby books? He really goes to town with some of the sentences in there.
  11. Apr 25, 2010 #10
    That's where the onions sentence comes from. I think it's the very first book. Enderby is at some dinner recieving some minor poetry award and he smells onions on another of the guests, which baffles him because there were no onions served at the dinner. The construction of the sentence where that's described is convoluted and humorous.

    I happen to remember it because I used to have a recording of him reading from Enderby, and also because he wrote an even better version of the sentence in his autobiography and presented it as an example of the fun you could have if you knew grammar.
  12. Apr 25, 2010 #11
    I have seen some good ones in German based on the fact that the word fliegen refers to both the the insect and the action; and French based on the fact that the word suis refers to both the verb to be and the verb to follow.
  13. Apr 25, 2010 #12
    Wow. That's good. I was going to call you out on it, but I think I see it.

    that (conj) that(dem article)that(noun), that (conj)that(dem article)that(noun). Right?
  14. Apr 25, 2010 #13
    It wasn't hard to find on google:

    “Then, instead of expensive mouthwash, he had breathed on Hogg-Enderby, bafflingly (for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions) onions.”
  15. Apr 25, 2010 #14
    That's IT! Excellent.

    What did you google?
  16. Apr 25, 2010 #15
    Just "enderby onions". While looking through the book I noticed this come up more than once, the one I found in the book being:

    "He breathed, bafflingly, onions on Enderby, for onions had not formed any part of the meal."
  17. Apr 25, 2010 #16
    Here's a fantastic one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Eating_Poet_in_the_Stone_Den): [Broken]

    « Shī Shì shí shī shǐ »
    Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
    Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
    Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
    Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
    Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
    Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
    Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
    Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
    Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
    Shì shì shì shì.

    Meaning in English:

    « Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den »
    In a stone den was a poet Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten.
    He often went to the market to look for lions.
    At ten o'clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
    At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
    He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
    He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
    The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
    After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
    When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
    Try to explain this matter.

    To listen to it spoken:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Apr 25, 2010 #17
    That has to be the winner.
  19. Apr 25, 2010 #18
    I guess he felt it's in the nature of onions that they can be peeled many times.
  20. Apr 25, 2010 #19
    Not yet. If see one, you know there must be more. This one is called ( I believe) Aunt Yi (yi yi (omitting the tone marks) means 'aunt' *With different tones, it means different things.


    A poster says it's not a poem. I only know I've seen it (or one very much like it) before called Aunt Yi which was translated.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  21. Apr 25, 2010 #20

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

    [Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [whom] (Buffalo buffalo) buffalo, buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
    [Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.

    Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community.
    THE buffalo FROM Buffalo WHO ARE buffaloed BY buffalo FROM Buffalo ALSO buffalo THE buffalo FROM Buffalo.


    James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

    James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher


    That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.
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