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OK - consider this sentence:
If I'd have had the money I would have bought it.

Here in the UK, that would be a perfectly reasonable sentence, and so far as I know, grammatically correct. "I'd" is short for "I had", so "I'd have had" expands to "I had have had". I've been hearing, using, and reading, this construction for decades, and no-one's questioned it until now.

Now an American tells me that "had have had" is wrong. If I had to guess, I'd guess that they were looking for "If I'd had" instead of "If I'd have had".

Google certainly confirms that I'm not alone in my use of "had have had". The question is, can this usage be backed up in any formal reference? Or is my American friend right, and I've been getting it wrong for nearly half a century?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
CalifJimThe 'd is for would, not for had.
No it isn't.

Grammatically speaking, would have had belongs on the THEN side of a conditional, not the IF side. As in, "If he'd have said this, then I'd have done that" expands to "If he had have said this, then I would have done that".

The question was not "what does the 'd" stand for. I'm perfectly familiar with it's usage (and alternative ways of contracting it). The question is, is this usage formally correct, formally incorrect, a Britishism, or what?

From the replies above, it definitely is starting to look like something we only say on the UK side of the pond, and considered wrong on the US side. But I'd still like to see some evidence (either way) that wasn't anecdotal.

...and this leads to another question - this one addressed (presumably) only to us Brits:
Is there a difference in meaning between:
(a) If I'd had money...
(b) If I'd have had money...
Whoops, sorry. That anonymous post there was actually me. (I forgot to sign in).

Anyway, I think that there is a difference, and that it's the difference between continuous and discrete. Simply put:

"If I'd had the money" is the hypothetical equivalent of "I had money", whereas
"If I'd have had the money" is the hypothetical equivalent of "I have had money"

Observe that the second "had" is irrelevant to this discussion. I could have used any verb. So let's us a different one to make it clear. I'm suggesting that:

"If I'd driven the car" is the hypothetical equivalent of "I drove the car", whereas
"If I'd have driven the car" is the hypothetical equivalent of "I have driven the car"

...a distinction which it is apparently impossible to make in American English (?)

Well, that's my theory. Anyone want to comment, or tell me I'm barking mad, or anything?
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I see no grammatical form or semantic meaning in had have had, and googling (a mere 11,000 hits when I tried it) produces not one grammatically reputable webpage.

I can envision I'd have had being misinterpreted as had have had by those who confuse had rather and would rather-- but those would have had to include Americans, according to Quirk et al:

'Sometimes (particularly in AmE) the uncontracted form of 'd rather is realized as had rather instead of would rather... These variations...have presumably arisen because of the ambiguity of the contraction 'd.'

I can only presume that those 11,000 googled cases arise from the same misunderstanding. It could also be a confusion with the collocation, have had to have (as in I have had to have a frontal lobotomy).
Grammatically speaking, would have had belongs on the THEN side of a conditional, not the IF side. As in, "If he'd have said this, then I'd have done that" expands to "If he had have said this, then I would have done that".
While the formally accepted form is If he had said this, then I would have done that, the use of the modal would also appears, particularly in-- again-- informal AmE. Quirk's example is 'If I'd have seen her, I'd have told her'.
The question is, is this usage formally correct, formally incorrect, a Britishism, or what?
Since it obviously appears, I would call it 'substandard but accepted as casual'-- on both sides of the Atlantic. The future may bring increased legitimacy.
(a) If I'd had money...
(b) If I'd have had money...
If I had had the money, I would have bought Microsoft shares years ago.
If I would have had the money, I would have bought a Chevrolet years ago.
If I had of had the money, I woulda bought me a Gameboy years ago.

CalifJimOMG, OMG. Emotion: surprise LOL. Reading all thosehad've had's got me to laughing. (Maybe that's not the reaction you expected?) To my American ear, they are actually funny sounding. My apologies, but they all sound as if spoken by some hillbilly hicks out in the boonies! (At least to me.) That is really amazing how different British and American usage are on this one! Emotion: smile
Emotion: indifferentso true... but have you ever noticed that the English language is simply incredible!!! Some things may sound funny and thus, people do not use them often. But, it is grammatically correct! take for example, commonly made mistakes (singlish in Singapore) - people are oblivious to these mistakes as they are encountered in daily life. They do not seem as funny as it would sound like from a English expert's point of view. [A]The expert would be able to point out from the beginning that the sentence used is incorrect, but we would have to take a long time to find out (just like trying to get rid of hard habits!)... maybe, just maybe the mistakes would not be pointed out at all! Emotion: big smile
(removed by mod. not relevant to this discussion. also you have asked this question twice already and it has been answered for you.)
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Mister MicawberI see no grammatical form or semantic meaning in had have had,
I don't dispute you, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. And I can infer semantic meaning. Presumably that's because I'm used to hearing both versions, and I distinguish between them automatically.

Mister Micawberand googling (a mere 11,000 hits when I tried it) produces not one grammatically reputable webpage.
Well I just found this one, from "The Columbia Guide to Standard American English" (yes, curiously, American English). It's at http://www.bartleby.com/68/46/4646.html , and it describes what I'm talking about as the PLUPLUPERFECT tense. It states: " All such locutions are Substandard" - so I accept that this is substandard (at least, in America). The clarify the expansion of 'd, it says: "the uncontracted auxiliaries can be either would have or had have" - so we're both right, which is nice. :-)

Anyhow, I've just decided to buy myself a copy of "The Oxford English Grammar", which is pretty definitive so far as British English is concerned. I'll let you all know if there is any significant difference between British and American English in this regard (and I still suspect that there will be). The afforementioned Columbia Guide says "Spoken or written inadvertently, the plupluperfect is a powerful shibboleth in Standard English." -- so I just had to look up "shibboleth", which turns out to mean something which only people who use it consider to have meaning! Eerk!
Just found: Though most bad dreams I've had have had no meaning like that - I have had have had! Although in this case it makes sense...most dreams I've had, have had no meaning...

I think it must be a Britishism...and it is acceptable here. I see it as a different meaning to had had as well. It has far more emphasis somehow and like I said before, is used to express 'If only'.

I had had an operation to fix my leg. You can't say I had've had an operation to fix my leg.

If I had had an operation, I would be better now. Ok. I didn't have an operation for whatever reason, perhaps I'm too scared, and my leg is still gip.

If I had've had an operation , I would be better now. Ok. I didn't have an operation and I darn well think I should have. If I HAD had the operation I would be ok now. So no thanks to whatever stopped me having it.
Thanks for the research, Firefly-- very interesting. I look forward to any further clarification.
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I'm not sure it's especially British:

"If I had have" – 859 UK googles, 20,000 all.

"If I'd've" – 608 UK, 739 all.

"If I hadda" – 343 UK, 1090 all.

But it does seem to be non-standard: I haven't yet found any examples in literary texts, for instance, except in realistic dialogue.

(There are 22 examples in Hansard; but the ones I've looked at seem to be either obvious mistakes for "have had", or pseudo-had-haves between clauses, e.g. "In particular, were there any significant changes or is there some indication which you can give of where the thoughts that you first had have been significantly changed because of the consultation...".)

It's a curious structure: how do we parse it? "I had" can be followed by a participle or a to-infinitive:

1. If I had | known...

2. If I had | to go...

but here we have – what?

3. If I had | have known...

Seemingly, bare infinitive + participle.

I wonder whether it's another case of the redundanct perfect infinitive, as in "I would have liked to have asked her out", "I doubt whether she would have wanted to have gone out with me", etc.

Or maybe it's a remnant of some earlier usage – in Chaucer, for instance, there sometimes seems to be a distinction between the "had" of the past perfect subjunctive (e.g. "if I hadde"), and the "had" of the past participle. Presumably the former was a disyllable, which would make it very like our "hadda". That wouldn't explain the emphatic "if I had have known...", though.

MrP
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