A:Why is Lisa so upset about her trip ?

B:She (had her luggage searched) three times.

The answer in the workbook( "Grammar in Use") shows 'had her luggage searched' is the correct answer. I'm a Japanese and an English teacher. One of my students asked me 'has her luggage searched' seems to be correct. I also think 'has' seems to be gramatically correct. Do you have any idea or advice to explain the difference? Is the nuance (or impact) is a bit different?


In my view you can use present perfect or past tense, but not present tense.

1 Present perfect: She has had her luggage searched three times.

2 Past tense: She had her luggage searched three times.

3 Not: present tense: She has her luggage searched thee times.

I would prefer present perfect because it explains Lisa's present irritation. Perfect used for something in the past with reference to now.

Present tense as in 3 is not possible as the searching is already a past event.

The verb construction/verb pattern with to have + object + past participle is a special construction that learners have to study carefully.


(I agree with @rogermue but I think I have another way of explaining this to you that will be easier to understand.)

Only one search can occur at a time. So we have to put the three searches in different places on the time line. But the present tense can only focus on one spot on the time line at a time.

Imagine a cartoon strip or anime sequence with captions, showing airport officials rifling through Lisa's luggage. Caption: "Lisa has her luggage searched."

Some amount of time passes, and then there is another drawing, similar to the first, with the caption, "Lisa has her luggage searched AGAIN."

Some time passes... and now there is a third search drawing; the caption says, "Lisa has her luggage searched a third time -- arggh!"

Those three pictures happen at three discreet moments in time. You can't have one picture showing all three separate searches. So you can't have one caption describing all three.

However, I can say that as mistakes go, that one is not one of the more noticeable ones. I had to think about it a bit.

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