I had had, or I had? - Page 2

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Thread: I had had, or I had?

  1. #11
    In the double 'had', the first one is a helper verb which indicates the past perfect tense and the second has a meaning something like possessed. A single 'had' (without being followed by another verb, in which case it's still a perfect tense helper verb) is in the past tense and means something like possessed. So, whether one or two is used ought, grammatically, technically, to depend on which tense is correct for the clause in question.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    I'm the opposite. Unless you're writing dialogue, in which case the character can say things however he'd like, I'd argue it's your duty as a writer and narrator to present the story according to the rules of grammar. Omitting one of the "had"s just because you don't like how it looks is a poor practice, particularly when (as others have said), it does change the meaning of the sentence.
    There are no Official Rules. I suspect my rules (try to avoid had had and that that) are different from yours, and yours are different from mine, and no one has the same rules as either of us.

    But I agree there's good reasons for following rules. The end of 2015 found me annoyed by all of the misplaced modifiers I was finding. I was looking for someone who followed the "rules" better than Stephen King and so far am discouraged. Do you know a writer who follows the rules?
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Do you know a writer who follows the rules?
    If memory serves, C. S. Lewis is pretty good at it.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  4. #14
    In my youth, I had had a superb mind, but by the time I got to WF, I had only a shadow of it left.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    If memory serves, C. S. Lewis is pretty good at it [following the rules].
    He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs Macready and three servants.
    Do you mind if there is no comma between these two independent clauses?

    He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once;
    from one website: "nonessential clauses are introduced or surrounded by commas." So which should be preceded by a comma.

    ; but on the first evening...
    A semicolon isn't supposed to be followed by a coordinating conjunction. I think it's the least offensive misuse of the semicolon. Do you count this as breaking a rule?

    but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the front door he was so odd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a little afraid of him,
    I would prefer commas marking off when he came out to meet them at the front door.

    Are these misplaced modifiers? They bother me.

    They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office
    I think that modifies where he lived; it definitely does not modify country.

    and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.
    I think to hide it is supposed to explain why he was pretending. It refers to laughing; the fuller quote being

    Edmund (who was the next youngest) wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.

    So, the question becomes what you mean by following the rules. Interesting question, right? If you want to be strict, Lewis does no better than anyone else; if you want to be lax . . . then everyone's fine and there's nothing to complain about.

    (That the first paragraph. It can be found at http://bracademy.wikispaces.com/file...C.S.+Lewis.pdf).
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  6. #16
    It's been a while since I've read the Chronicles of Narnia, but it's very possible that Lewis simplifies his writing for the younger audience. You could try one of his more adult-oriented works, if you like:

    Quote Originally Posted by Out of the Silent Planet
    The last drops of the thundershower had hardly ceased falling when the Pedestrian stuffed his map into his pocket, settled his pack more comfortably on his tired shoulders, and stepped out from the shelter of a large chestnut tree into the middle of the road. A violent yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate. Every tree and blade of grass was dripping, and the road shone like a river. The Pedestrian wasted no time on the landscape but set out at once with the determined stride of a good walker who has lately realized that he will have to walk farther than he intended. That, indeed, was his situation. If he had chosen to look back, which he did not, he could have seen the spire of Much Nadderby, and, seeing it, might have uttered a malediction on the inhospitable little hotel which, though obviously empty, had refused him a bed. The place had changed hands since he last went for a walking tour in these parts. The kindly old landlord on whom he had reckoned had been replaced by someone whom the barmaid referred to as 'the lady,' and the lady was apparently a British innkeeper of that orthodox school who regard guests as a nuisance. His only chance now was Sterk, on the far side of the hills, and a good six miles away. The map marked an inn at Sterk. The Pedestrian was too experienced to build any very sanguine hopes on this, but there seemed nothing else within range.
    http://burgsbee.tripod.com/eTexts/_C..._104_Pages.pdf

    As you showed in your post (though I'd be willing to argue a few of your points), there can be issues in his writing, and they're ones I'd be willing to question him about, but it's also possible they were honest mistakes that simply slipped past his editor. No one can really speak for him now, but I still look to Lewis as an example of someone who sticks to the rules far more often than not. To recall your closing line: If I want to be strict, Lewis does far better than most anyone else, so I have no need to be lax.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  7. #17
    I think, by the traditional rules, there should be no comma after Nadderly. From one website: "A compound predicate is simply two or more main verbs attached to a single subject of the sentence. Please note: When you join just two verbs, no comma should come before the and."

    This rule is broken so commonly I don't know why they bother with it. But that leads me to want an example of a writer that you think breaks the rules too much. (Or -- I wonder what rules you mind being broken.)
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I think, by the traditional rules, there should be no comma after Nadderly. From one website: "A compound predicate is simply two or more main verbs attached to a single subject of the sentence. Please note: When you join just two verbs, no comma should come before the and."

    This rule is broken so commonly I don't know why they bother with it. But that leads me to want an example of a writer that you think breaks the rules too much. (Or -- I wonder what rules you mind being broken.)
    To answer your first question, I remember being completely jarred by the poor prose in the Hunger Games when I first started reading it. It took several chapters before my brain stopped noticing the constant issues. I'm sure other authors do it as well, though I admit I don't read as much as an aspiring author probably should.

    As for what rules I mind being broken, fragments top the list. I have yet to see a fragment or collections of fragments that grammar doesn't provide the proper punctuation for, should the author have chosen to use it. Blatant comma misuse also bothers me (such as comma splices), though I'll generally give a pass to commas implemented or withheld for the sake of setting a sentence's tempo.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    To answer your first question, I remember being completely jarred by the poor prose in the Hunger Games when I first started reading it. It took several chapters before my brain stopped noticing the constant issues. I'm sure other authors do it as well, though I admit I don't read as much as an aspiring author probably should.

    As for what rules I mind being broken, fragments top the list. I have yet to see a fragment or collections of fragments that grammar doesn't provide the proper punctuation for, should the author have chosen to use it. Blatant comma misuse also bothers me (such as comma splices), though I'll generally give a pass to commas implemented or withheld for the sake of setting a sentence's tempo.
    Amazing! I looked just a little at Hunger Games a few months ago and was stunned by how many fragments Collins had -- 4 of the first 8 sentences are fragments! So your comments fit together like hand and glove.

    But I think fragments are a very useful tool for good writing, and that book has my favorite fragment.

    Sometimes,when I clean a kill, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stoppedhissing at me.
    Entrails.No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love.
    I tried rewriting it without the fragments and couldn't come close to being as good.

    Why doesn't this count as blatant comma misuse?

    Everyone agreed to this and that was how the adventures began.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  10. #20
    An example of the change in meaning: I'd had enough of his stupidity. I had enough of his stupidity. The first is saying that you will not put up with any more of the man's stupidity; the second is saying you possess enough of it. Quite different LOL. Just abbreviate the first one.

    On the wider subject of grammar, do not become a prescriptivist; you will waste your time in futility. Only keep the expectations of readers in mind. The horse left the stable a very long time ago when it comes to things like fragments. Fragments can be very helpful, but they're often used clumsily by inexperienced writers. I never use comma splices; there is not a single instance where a semicolon isn't better, but that's a different matter. Fragments allow you to omit dead freight.


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