I want to have clear meaning in my writing but in some cases confusion can be inevitable. As it can be seen below, this relative clause looks like past perfect tense but I want to say "he had it built".

He wanted the construction of the school (which) he had built in his own name to continue unobstructed.

What I want to mean by that is "He had a school built in his own name and he wanted the construction of that school to continue unobstructed" but I'm unsure if the underlined section of the sentence could be mistaken for past perfect tense instead of "to have something done". Suggestions from English professionals and native speakers are highly appreciated.

Note: The reason I have to insist on using this structure is that I'm translating plenty of text from Turkish to English and Turkish is filled with these verbs that have this "-tir" suffix which gives almost every verb the meaning of to have something done. These verbs can very commonly appear in relative clauses and it makes my life very difficult.



I'm sorry I forgot I had an account, this is my question. Could you please help me?

I think your sentence is not logical. He had a school that was already built in his own name, then why did he want it to be constructed without obstruction?

I think the sentence should be like this, "He was building a school in his own name and he wanted the construction of that school to continue unobstructed."

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Logic is not my point here. Scrap that sentence then and take this one for example: "He wanted to work on his thesis (which) he had written (he had someone else write it) but lacked the knowledge to do so." For those who want to separate this sentence like: "He had his thesis written and he wanted to work on it..." that's not what the text I'm translating from says. So, once again, how do I use an elusive relative clause like this to imply he had it written and he wanted to work on it?

Good evening,

In your example regarding the thesis, you should write: " He wanted to work on the thesis (which/that) he had had (he'd had) written (rule of the " Consecutio Temporum").

Remember that you are using the passive with " to have/get something done" and you need to follow the normal rules which apply to it.


I have my car serviced once a year. Present Simple

I've just had my car serviced. Present Perfect

I had my car serviced yesterday. Simple Past

And, finally, similar to your example of the thesis, but also to the phrase of the house you need to translate, with the past perfect we will have:

Last week l sold the car (which/that) l had had repaired. Past Perfect

If you put only one " had" in the last sentence, you violate the rule of the Consecutio Temporum which, in this case, requires " had had".

Take care.


anonymousIn your example regarding the thesis,

Maybe you don't realize it, but you are answering a question that was asked more than two years ago. That particular member of the forum has not posted here since December, 2018.

Why not answer questions that are more recent? That way there's a better chance that the person who asked the question is still participating on our forum and can benefit from your answer.


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