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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    #1

    Lightbulb If I had have done...

    I heard this structure for the first time while watching some British TV series and it eventually led me to this entry.

    Another controversial issue is the insertion of have where it is superfluous, as, for example, I might have missed it if you hadn't have pointed it out (rather than the standard ... if you hadn't pointed it out). This construction has been around since at least the 15th century, but only where a hypothetical situation is presented (e.g., statements starting with if). More recently, there has been speculation among grammarians and linguists that this insertion of have may represent a kind of subjunctive and is actually making a useful distinction in the language. However, it is still regarded as an error in standard English.

    New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

    I'd like to hear your opinions, as grammarians and linguists, on this issue. Is the insertion of have really making a useful distinction in the language?
    As far as I can understand there is no need to speculate about the structure having any effect on practical English usage, but I for some reason find it interesting to look at this from a grammatical point of view.

    Thanks.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If I had have done...

    Can you tell us which grammarians and linguists think it might be making a useful distinction?

    I don't see what distinction it is supposed to make. It is still regarded as an error; those people who do not realise that it is regarded as an error appear to use it with exactly the same meaning as the construction without 'have'.

    There may be an argument that the 'error' is now so common that it should no longer be regarded as an error, but that is a different matter.

  3. suprunp's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Can you tell us which grammarians and linguists think it might be making a useful distinction?
    I assume, reasonably enough, that this question should be asked of lexicographers of New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

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    #4

    Re: If I had have done...

    You hear it used, but I don't think there is really much of a distinction between that and the standard form.

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    #5

    Re: If I had have done...

    What I suspect that you actually heard was "if you hadn't OF pointed it out", a widespread BrE solecism deriving originally from the phonetic corruption of 'have' in perfective modal constructions such as

    I shouldn't have said that.

    to 'of', followed by its ungrammatical (and semantically quite superfluous) insertion into hypothetical past perfect constructions of the type that you cite.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You hear it used, but I don't think there is really much of a distinction between that and the standard form.
    I agree with 5jj. I cannot think of any semantic distinction. Are you also agreeing with this, Tdol, or do you think there is a distinction, albeit not much of one? I'd like to know what that slight distinction might be.
    Also, do you think that people who say "if you hadn't have pointed it out" are using it deliberately and would use "if you hadn't pointed it out" in other circumstances where such subtlety called for it? (I don't.)

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    What I suspect that you actually heard was "if you hadn't OF pointed it out", a widespread BrE solecism deriving originally from the phonetic corruption of 'have' in perfective modal constructions such as

    I shouldn't have said that.

    to 'of', followed by its ungrammatical (and semantically quite superfluous) insertion into hypothetical past perfect constructions of the type that you cite.
    Actually, I think that the majority of people who are guilty of this solecism (if you hadn't of/'ve'have pointed ...) are saying, "If you hadn't've pointed it out". On the rare occasions that such people expand the contraction, they say 'if you hadn't have ...". In my experience as a teacher in comprehensive schools, the only pupils who wrote 'of', and therefore presumably said that, were pupils who cmited al sotrs of other miss-taks. Pupils who wrote moderately correct English tended to write 'have'.

    Neither group thought there was anything wrong with it. Some of their teachers saw nothing wrong in 'Hadn't have', either. The times they are a-changing.

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    #8

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Some of their teachers saw nothing wrong in 'Hadn't have', either.
    Then it would seem that some of the teachers need remedial English lessons!

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Then it would seem that some of the teachers need remedial English lessons!
    You are so right. Sigh.

    Given our different views on the subjunctive, it may surprise you to learn that I was regarded as the arch-conservative on correctness in English when I taught it the comprehensive system.

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    #10

    Re: If I had have done...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    You are so right. Sigh.

    Given our different views on the subjunctive, it may surprise you to learn that I was regarded as the arch-conservative on correctness in English when I taught it the comprehensive system.
    *STAGGERS IN DISBELIEF*

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