1

We didn't go to the party last night because we have had a fever

Or

We didn't got to the party last night because we had had a fever

I know the past perfect describes an completed before a certain moment in the past. Past perfect to express an action whose time isn't given and not definite. But here I don't understand which tense would be correct to use. Please help!

2

They're both correct, but they mean slightly different things.

It seems to me the best answer would be

... because we had a fever.

This says that you had a fever last night, but doesn't say whether you had a fever before last night, or whether you have a fever now. That's all the information you really need to convey.

Both the alternatives work, but carry more information:

... because we have had a fever.

This implies that you still have a fever.

... because we had had a fever.

This implies that you had a fever before (possibly including) last night, but that you are probably over it by now.

0

Given the words "last night" I would say "have had a fever". But if you were talking of a party in the more distant past, it would be "had had".

7
  • But isn't past perfect tense is used to show an action completed before something that happened in the past (simple past tense). If I use had had doesn't it mean their fever was over before going to the party? – Rich Handsome Guy Jul 5 '20 at 8:40
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    @RichHandsomeGuy Yes. Now that you have added "last night" I would say "have had" is better. Without "last night" I was assuming a party longer ago than that - e.g. if you were writing this in a novel. – Tony Andrews Jul 5 '20 at 8:47
  • Can you elaborate why it's better to use have? Is it because the time of the fever is not specified? I want to understand it clearly so I won't be confused in the future again when I'm making such type of sentences. – Rich Handsome Guy Jul 5 '20 at 8:53
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    I don't think "had had" could ever be wrong when talking about the past. "Have had" only makes sense if the fever was recent enough to also be relevant in the present. – Tony Andrews Jul 5 '20 at 8:57
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    The past perfect is used to backshift both the present perfect and the simple past. If you have a fever now, and you got it three days ago, you use the present perfect and say I have had a fever for three days. So if you had a fever last night, and you got it three days earlier, you would say I had had a fever for three days. – Peter Shor Jul 5 '20 at 17:10

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