This question already has an answer here:

Question : I was really tired last night. I ______________ (have) a hard day.

Which one of the two is correct sentence and why? (by the way I wrote the second one.)

  1. I was really tired last night. I had had a hard day.
  2. I was really tired last night. I had a hard day.

When do we use had had or have have together?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Hellion, Hank, Dan Bron, Rory Alsop Feb 17 '17 at 21:14

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Don’t worry about the duplication, concentrate on the meaning. It’s no different than I had seen, I had worked, I had been... except with the verb *to have instead of to see, to work, to be etc. – Jim Feb 15 '17 at 3:59
  • 1
    @:Your being tired was due to some actions you performed in the past time. Means: You did something first, then you became tired. The past perfect tense is used to talk about the earlier action; and the simple past tense is used to talk about later action/state, when all took place in the past. The past perfect tense (had+past participle) can well be termed as 'past-in-past' or 'before-past. In 'had had', the first 'had' is the auxiliary and the second 'had' is the past participle of verb 'have' meaning experience, undergo, suffer etc. in your context. 'have have' is wrong. – mahmud koya Feb 15 '17 at 5:32

Both sentences are grammatically correct. The correct answer for the question depends on what tense the question is hoping to test. If it is meant to test a student's understanding of past perfect tense, then the first sentence, "I was really tired last night. I had had a hard day." is the appropriate response.

Sentences in the past perfect tense have the following structure: [had + past participle]. The usage of this tense with non-continuous verbs is meant to describe an action that took place before and leading up to another action (also in the past).

As far as your additional note, using have had (not have have) would make the sentence present perfect -- describing an action that started in the past and has continued up to an action in the present.


Both the sentences are grammatically correct. But,

I was really tired last night. I had a hard day.- Here had suggests current day whereas,

I was really tired last night. I had had a hard day. - Here had had suggests the day in subject is in past.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.