I always think that the proper use of this construction is, for example: 'After the death of her grandfather, she had to take over his duties on the farm'. This is a sentence from my paper, which returned corrected 'she had to took over'.

And I'm confused, because I was taught that the rule is: had to + infinitive. But on the other hand, my teacher is a native speaker and I found it hard to believe that he could make a mistake.

Is there some kind of rule that I don't know?

  • 4
    Your teacher made a mistake. To err is human.
    – Anonym
    Nov 18, 2014 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


Your teacher made a mistake. "She had to took over" is incorrect grammar.


In fact, "took" is the past simple of "take", and "taken" is the past participle. It is highly unlikely that a teacher should confuse "take" and "took". I wonder whether your teacher merely crossed out only part ("take") of what she actually meant to cross out ("had to take over") in order to have "after the death of her grandfather, she took over his duties on the farm."

"Had to" (and "have to" in any tense) has to be followed by infinitive.

She had to take over.

I had to do that.

I have to go.

I will have to wait.

  • But changing "had to take over" to "took over" changes the meaning. The former implies some coercive influence that the latter does not.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 18, 2014 at 23:40
  • 1
    @HotLicks It surely does, and I was just wondering whether the teacher meant to do that. The text may have been a "precis" based on a novel...who knows?
    – Centaurus
    Nov 18, 2014 at 23:45

Your teacher made a mistake, quite possible as we all are human-beings. Or maybe s/he just changed had to take over into took over? Anyway the answer had to took over is grammatically incorrect.

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