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Thread: had had

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    Default had had

    I am a medical transcriptionist. We have been debating whether it is appropriate to use "had had" in a sentence, for example "She had had two prior laparoscopies." What is your advice on this? :?

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    Perfectly beautiful English!

    She had a laparoscopy last May and last June. So then,

    she had had two prior laparoscopies prior to being admitted to (the) hosiptal.

    The underlined bit identifies the event that happened 1st.

    When speaking about two connected events in the past, use the past perfect 'had + main verb' to express the event that happens first, and use the past simple (main verb) to express the event that happens next.

    I had eaten half the dog before the pizza arrived!

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    Default Re: had had

    Quote Originally Posted by hypertyper
    I am a medical transcriptionist. We have been debating whether it is appropriate to use "had had" in a sentence, for example "She had had two prior laparoscopies." What is your advice on this? :?
    In the example you quoted it is perfectly fine. (Caseopia did a fine job explaining why that is.)

    :)

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    Default Re: had had

    Quote Originally Posted by hypertyper
    I am a medical transcriptionist. We have been debating whether it is appropriate to use "had had" in a sentence, for example "She had had two prior laparoscopies." What is your advice on this? :?
    Each had in "had had" is a different word. The first is an auxiliary verb used to create the past perfect tense; the second is the past tense of the verb "have". There is nothing worng with the English per se, but "had had" can cause a reader to stumble. One could use a synonym for the second "had", such as "undergone".

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    Default had had

    I would prefer to avoid using a sentence with two hads and two priors. How about:

    • She is scheduled to be admitted to the hospital on XX. She has had two laparoscopies previously.


    What do you think?

    (Aside: They like redundancy in medicine, using gratingly redundant terms such as past history.)

    :)

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    Default Re: had had

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    I would prefer to avoid using a sentence with two hads ...
    I remember complaining about this sort of thing in Dutch, I was told it was perfectly normal. These days I get a tickle out of it. :) I'd say if you like it use it, if it causes confusion don't, unless you like that sort of thing! ;)

    Iain

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    Default Re: had had

    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    I would prefer to avoid using a sentence with two hads ...
    I remember complaining about this sort of thing in Dutch, I was told it was perfectly normal. These days I get a tickle out of it. :) I'd say if you like it use it, if it causes confusion don't, unless you like that sort of thing! ;)

    Iain
    It may be normal in Dutch (I wouldn't know), but sometimes one had is too many when the past perfect is not necessary and not indicated. Also, I think that sometimes one prior is too many, and when a sentence has two of each it is begging for revision.

    :wink:

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    Default Re: had had

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by hypertyper
    I am a medical transcriptionist. We have been debating whether it is appropriate to use "had had" in a sentence, for example "She had had two prior laparoscopies." What is your advice on this? :?
    Each had in "had had" is a different word. The first is an auxiliary verb used to create the past perfect tense; the second is the past tense of the verb "have". There is nothing worng with the English per se, but "had had" can cause a reader to stumble. One could use a synonym for the second "had", such as "undergone".
    That's a good analysis and also a good suggestion.

    :)

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