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When to use had or have

The choice between "had" and "have" depends on the context and the tense of the sentence. Let's break it down:


Present Perfect Tense:

  • "Have" is used when forming the present perfect tense in the first and second person (I, you, we, they).

  • Example: "I have seen that movie before."

  • "Has" is used with the third person singular (he, she, it).

  • Example: "She has visited that place."


Past Perfect Tense:

  • "Had" is used to form the past perfect tense for all persons (I, you, he, she, it, we, they).

  • Example: "I had already finished my work when she called."


In summary, use "have" for the present perfect tense and "had" for the past perfect tense. The choice depends on the timing of the action in relation to the present or another past event.


Example sentences:


  1. I had practiced Spanish before I visited Madrid.

  2. She didn't watch the movie because she hadn't reserved tickets.

  3. We had completed the project before the deadline.

  4. He had tasted the dish before the chef explained the ingredients.

  5. They had fixed the leaky roof before the heavy storm hit.

  6. You had met him before the company event.


The phrases "hadn't seen" and "haven't seen" are both examples of verb constructions in English, specifically using auxiliary verbs.

  1. "Hadn't seen" is the past perfect tense. It is formed by combining the past tense of the auxiliary verb "have" (had) with the past participle of the main verb ("seen"). This construction is used to indicate an action completed before another action in the past. Example: "I hadn't seen that movie before yesterday."

  2. "Haven't seen" is the present perfect tense. It is formed by combining the present tense of the auxiliary verb "have" (have/has) with the past participle of the main verb ("seen"). This construction is used to express an action that started in the past and continues into the present or has relevance to the present. Example: "I haven't seen him today."

In summary, "hadn't seen" is in the past perfect tense, indicating a past action completed before another past action, and "haven't seen" is in the present perfect tense, indicating a past action with present relevance.




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