Let's say in this scenario:

Someone asked me for help to do certain thing. I gave a negative response. That person then asked for the reason. I responded with:

"Had you had asked me nicely ...."

What I meant to say was "If you had/have asked me nicely ..."

Question: Does the former have the same meaning as the later?

Edit: Just to make sure there are not any differences: My response was a statement, not a question to that person.

  • You must say: "Had you asked me nicely ...", without the second *had. It has the same meaning as "If you had asked me nicely ...". In Present-day English this inversion is only permitted with past-form auxiliaries and modals, and in practice is largely restricted to had, were and should. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 13:55
  • @StoneyB: great explanation.
    – EmilyJ
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 1:16

1 Answer 1


"Had you had asked me nicely ...."

is incorrect. It should be EITHER:

If you had asked me nicely...


Had you asked me nicely...

which both mean the same thing.

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