Learn English Grammar: Past Perfect

by Sassy
(USA,,CA)

Please explain how to use the "had had" tense. Thank you





Hi Sassy,

Here is a simple explanation to help you understand when and how to use the past perfect "had had".

We use the past perfect when we are talking about the past and want to refer back to an earlier past time.


  • She had had too much to eat that evening and didn't want to have desert. (Her eating too much was at 8pm and her not wanting dessert was a t 9pm)

  • He had had a really bad day at work so he decided to go out for dinner.

  • By the time he was 34 he had had 30 different girlfriends.

  • He was fired before he had had a chance to explain the situation better.

    Had had expressions also work well with "if" clauses.


  • If had had the time to study, I would have past the exams.

  • If I had had the confidence to apply for the job, I would have gotten it.

    I hope that helps Sassy!

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