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Thread: Had and Has

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    bunburryist is offline Newbie
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    Default Had and Has

    Is there a conventional definition of had and has, where 'had' refers to a specific event and 'has' refers to general events? I have always thought of "had gone" to be referring to a specific event - "He had gone to the store on Tuesday," where as "has gone" refers to an indefinite event or events - "He has gone to the store on various occasions." In the first person I would say, "I had gone to the store on Tuesday," but "I have gone to the store at different times." Is this a legitimate, conventional usage, or is this just in my head?

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    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Had and Has

    Quote Originally Posted by bunburryist View Post
    Is there a conventional definition of had and has, where 'had' refers to a specific event and 'has' refers to general events? I have always thought of "had gone" to be referring to a specific event - "He had gone to the store on Tuesday," where as "has gone" refers to an indefinite event or events - "He has gone to the store on various occasions." In the first person I would say, "I had gone to the store on Tuesday," but "I have gone to the store at different times." Is this a legitimate, conventional usage, or is this just in my head?
    I think it's mostly in your head.
    What you've done is state a hypothesis and then give only those types of examples that support it.

    It's just as easy to state the opposite hypothesis (that 'has' refers to specific event, and 'had' to general events) - by giving the following contrary examples:

    A: Where is John?
    B: He has gone to get some milk. (has - specific event.)

    Before becoming a priest, he had played the field with all the girls in town. (had - general events)

    Of course, I would not seriously suggest this alternate hypothesis. I'd simply claim that there is no relation.

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    bunburryist is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Had and Has

    If I was asking about a specific event, I wouldn't say, "Has John gone to the library yesterday afternoon," but rather, "Had John gone to the library yesterday afternoon?"

    Similarly, I was asking about something done repeatedly, or at some unspecified time, I wouldn't say, "Had John gone to the library many times," but rather, "Has John gone to the library many times?"

    "Had John gone to the library just that one time?" "Yes, he had."
    "Has John gone to the school many times?" "Yes, he has."

    I'm not putting this up as a "theory," this just "sounds right" to me.

    Again, maybe it's just in my head.

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