I know about the 4 types of conditionals, and this usage is not one of them. I have not seen any such example, but somehow it sounds a little correct, while seeming totally wrong. So I was just wondering if the bolded part in the below is grammatically correct or not.

Yesterday I started driving around 3pm. It had been raining all day. The roads were wet and slippery, and I had an accident.

If it hadn't had rained, I would not have had the accident.

  • 1
    What research have you done? What suggests to you that it might or might not be correct? Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 11:24
  • google searches for example of "hadn't had (V3 form of common verbs)" hardly show any results, but there are still few. So I assume this is just incorrect usages of this non-existing form. But then there is the "plusplusperfect" term which I have come across (for example "hadn't have happened"), which is a gramatically accepted, but mostly considered redundant form.
    – Gokay Huz
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 11:33
  • 1
    There's a song by the country musician Willie Nelson called "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground", whose first line is "If you had not have fallen". This has always bothered me, but there are people out there for whom this usage is presumably natural. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 13:50
  • 2
    @DougWarren: I am not saying anything is wrong. I was just asking if the other version is also grammatically correct or not
    – Gokay Huz
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


No, it's never grammatically correct to use hadn't had, plus an additional past participle.

There is no such construction. Hadn't had occurs, because had is already a past participle and together they form the past perfect construction for have:

  • If I hadn't had that coffee back in Austin, I'd be asleep now.

What convinces some people that there is such a construction is the way some other people interpolate vowels between verbs. It's quite common for to, for example, or have, or not, to just become a schwa in normal speech:

  • If I hadn't taken that turn, ... can be pronounced
  • If I hadna taken that turn

which suggests, to anybody who attempts to unpack that phrase, that there might be some other verb subsumed under a contraction, so it becomes (in their minds' ears)

  • *If I hadn't had taken that turn, which is ungrammatical.
  • If I'd have known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 9:32
  • @Araucaria-Him It does sound surprisingly good, doesn't it? Syntax, moving on. When English becomes paradigmatic again, the paradigms are gonna be something else. Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 15:02
  • Yep, it also seems to show that the PP of auxiliary have has diverged from that of 'lexical' have. As you say in your post *If I'd had known you were coming won't cut it! Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 16:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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