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How "James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher" is Correct Sentence?

Can anyone explain?

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What are you trying to say? Is this the full sentence? –  batpigandme May 19 '13 at 13:10
possible duplicate of When is it necessary to use "have had"? –  FumbleFingers May 19 '13 at 13:12
This is full and grammatically correct sentence, I wanna know how it is formed? –  vs4vijay May 19 '13 at 13:17
General reference: see James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher wikipedia article –  jwpat7 May 19 '13 at 13:57
Vijay where John had where had while while was not grammatically correct. (Or was it? I think you can only use "while" in that position if it means "at the same time as". You can say "Vijay, while John was playing, was studying". But can you say "Vijay, while John was wrong, was correct"?) –  Peter Shor May 19 '13 at 14:45
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closed as not a real question by FumbleFingers, jwpat7, Kristina Lopez, Carlo_R., RegDwigнt May 19 '13 at 16:11

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3 Answers

Not without quotes and punctuation:

James, while John had had “had,” had had “had had;” “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

The context is two students writing a sentence on some graded work, such as:

Bill had the measles.

Bill had had the measles.

When wanting to know why James scored better, the sentence above explains the reason, although I'd probably explain it like this:

James scored better because he used the right verb: had had, instead of just had.

The sentence is not unlike the famous Buffalo sentence; it's a contrived example to show how many times a single word can be strung together consecutively in a sentence. Another example is the sign maker who criticizes her own work by saying:

I should have put more space between ham and and and and and eggs.

on a sign that that looks too much like TODAY'S SPECIAL: HAMANDEGGS.

(That ‘that that’ that that last sentence has should just read ‘that.’)

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Can't resist pointing out to the signwriter that in her self-criticism she should have put more space between 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'and' and 'eggs'. –  TimLymington May 19 '13 at 13:57
@Tim: If only HTML would let her! –  J.R. May 19 '13 at 14:30
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JR is right. It's the difference between the past simple & the past perfect. Put another way: James, where John had used the past simple, had used the past perfect; the past perfect had gained the teacher's approval.

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To make it grammatically correct, you have to punctuate it correctly: James, where John had had 'had', had had 'had had'; 'had had' had had a better effect on the teacher. For more information on had had, try What does "had had" mean? How does this differ from "had"? or a grammar book.

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