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Hello

I would like to hear from our native English speakers about the words 'had had' in the following.
Just after you wake up, you could say I have had a comfortable night/sleep.

1. She said she had a comfortable night/sleep.

2. She said she had had ....... [ is this form correct?]
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Lady Thatcher was treated in a separate room for "security reasons", but was treated as an NHS patient, he added.
Earlier Mark Purcell, spokesman for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said the former prime minister had had a comfortable night.
Former Thatcher adviser Lord Bell said Lady Thatcher had been keen to go home and had begun to be "difficult".
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Comments  


Hi,

Just after you wake up, you could say I have had a comfortable night/sleep.

1. She said she had a comfortable night/sleep.

2. She said she had had ....... [ is this form correct?]
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Sure, it's fine and quite common. The repetition of the word 'had' serves different grammatical purposes correctly, and is easily understood.


Having said that, please note that the simple past can often be used instead of the Past Perfect in cases where the sequence of events is clear. This seems to be such a case. In other words, you could use either tense here.

Best wishes, Clive
Thanks Clive for the reply.

Let us take another example.

You went to a restaurant for lunch.

Just after leaving the restaurant, you accosted an old friend.

You would tell him ' I have had an excellent lunch' . Because you liked the food,wine,etc.

If I meet your friend later, he would tell me 'Clive told me he had an excellent lunch'.

Would it be correct for him to tell me ' Clive told me he had had an excellent lunch'?

I will always use the simple past tense in this context.
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John had a good night's sleep. This is a simple past tense.

John told me he had had a good night's sleep. The first had is forming the past perfect tense (had) with the verb had because the action took place before another past action. The fact that he TOLD you already puts the action in the past. Had had is used because it took place before another past ac (before he told you).

That's how I see it.

Akia
Hi Rex,

In your example about lunch, you can use either tense. It makes very little difference. However, consider this example.

I meet you and say 'I have had an interview. It went well.'

Later, you meet another person and you say 'Clive told me he had had an interview'. Here, it's clear to the speaker that the interview was before Clive told you about it.

However, if you say 'Clive told me he had an interview', it's not clear whether the interview was before Clive told you, or after. I might think it was 'after'.

So, this is an example of where the Past Perfect 'had had' needs to be used to make the meaning clear.

Best wishes, Clive
Hi Clive,

'Clive told me he had an interview'.

In the above sentence, the first past action is 'had an interview' and the recent action is 'Clive told me'.So, I conclude the interview was before Clive told me. However, you say it is not clear whether the interview was before Clive told you, or after. Would you please clarify? I guess I am missing an important point here.
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Hi,

'Clive told me he had an interview'.

In the above sentence, the first past action is 'had an interview' and the recent action is 'Clive told me'.So, I conclude the interview was before Clive told me. No. Maybe it's the first example below, in blue, where the interview comes after the telling.

Let's change the guy from'Clive' to 'Tom', it confuses me to be part of the action! Different example, different colour.

Tom says to Mary, 'I have an interview', meaning it is later.

Mary may report this as 'Tom said he had an interview'.

Tom says 'I had an interview', meaning it was in the past.

Mary may report this, again, as 'Tom said he had an interview'.

Tom says 'I have had an interview', meaning it was in the past.

Mary may report this as 'Tom said he had an interview'.

The reported speech in examples 2 and 3 can be misinterpreted, and confused with the meaning in example 1. To avoid this, Mary can and should use the Past Perfect in her reported speech in examples 2 and 3.

I hope this helps. If not, please write again.

Clive
Thanks everybody for the replies.

Two days ago, I met a friend of mine who went to South Africa. He has been there during the first two weeks of November 2005. He made a two weeks trip to South Africa.

He told me that he saw wild lions in the jungle. He said those lions came very close to the vehicle the group was travelling. I envy him because I haven't seen the wild lions. I have seen them in zoos. I haven't been to Africa, as yet.

1] Tim said he had seen lions in the African jungles.
2] Tim said he had had seen lions in the African jungles.

[ In the given context, would you write the first sentence or the second sentence?]
N° 1 is correct. There's one "had" too many in the second sentence.
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