One classic English joke famously manages to say 'had' 11 times in a row in one grammatically correct sentence. Here's the joke:
Two students, James and John, were asked on an English test to describe a man who, in the past, had suffered from a cold.
John wrote: “The man had a cold,” which the teacher marked as incorrect.
James, however, wrote: “The man had had a cold.” Since James’ answer was right, it 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.
To paraphrase this sentence above and make it easier to understand you could also say:
"James, [while John had written “had,”] had written “had had”; “had had” had left a better effect on the teacher."
The use of 'had had' is a fantastic example of the past perfect tense. It tells your listener that something happened in the past but is finished now. If you say, "The man at the shop had a cold." That man may still have a cold. The use of 'had' only demonstrates that you are talking about a man that you saw in the past. Whereas, if you say "The man at the shop had had a cold." There is no question that that man no longer has a cold. You are confirming that the man's cold is now over and he is better now. The use of 'had had' confirms that the event that you are talking about is now finished.
Here's a fun CHALLENGE: Can you think of another grammatically correct sentence in which you can say the same word many times in a row?
So, there you have it! How to say 'had' 11 times in a row in a grammatically correct sentence. Pretty interesting, right? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!
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