had


had
had
1. had better.
See better 1.
2. had have.
This occurs with unreal (or unfulfilled) propositions in the past, constructed either with if (or an equivalent construction) as in the sentence If I had have known, I would have said something or with a verb expressing an unfulfilled intention, such as wish: I wish you'd have kept quiet. Though now associated with dialect and informal usage, the construction can be traced back in print to the 15c, e.g.

• Had not he have be [= been], we shold never have retorned —Malory, 1470–85.

In a discussion of this issue in the journal English Today (1986), Professor Frank Palmer commented that ‘there is a problem with past unreal, because it needs to mark past tense twice, once for time and once for unreality’. Another correspondent pointed out the type had + a- + verb as shown in the first part of a sentence in Galsworthy's Strife (1909): If we'd a-known that before, we'd not a-started out with you so early, which is distinct from the substitution of of for have in American regional use:

• It was four o'clock in the morning then, and if we'd of raised the blinds we'd of seen daylight. —Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.

The upshot is that constructions of this type, of which had have is the most common in BrE, should be avoided in more formal speech.
3. had rather.
The type I had rather is as idiomatic as, though much less common than, I would rather, and in its contracted form I'd rather is indistinguishable. In historical terms it was formed on the analogy of the now archaic type I had liefer meaning ‘I should hold it dearer’:

• I had rather err with Plato than be right with Horace —Shelley, 1819

• I had rather gaze on a new ice age than these familiar things —Jeanette Winterson, 1985.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • had — sb., et …   Dansk ordbog

  • Had — (h[a^]d), imp. & p. p. of {Have}. [OE. had, hafde, hefde, AS. h[ae]fde.] See {Have}. [1913 Webster] {Had as lief}, {Had rather}, {Had better}, {Had as soon}, etc., with a nominative and followed by the infinitive without to, are well established… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • had — [hæd] adjective be had informal to be tricked: • Skilled counterfeiting led stores to sell goods they thought were the real thing, only to find they d been had. * * * had UK US /hæd/ adjective INFORMAL ● be had Cf …   Financial and business terms

  • hâd — HÂD, HÂDĂ, hâzi, hâde, adj. Foarte urât, slut. – cf. ucr. h y d. Trimis de gall, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  HÂD adj. v. urât. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime  hâd adj …   Dicționar Român

  • Had — can have more than one meaning:* Had (linguistics), the present tense of are * Had, an alternative for Hadit, the Thelemic version of an Egyptian god * Had, an alternative for Tag (game), used primarily in London * Abbreviation for Hole… …   Wikipedia

  • had — [had] vt. [ME hadde, had < OE hæfde] pt. & pp. of HAVE: also used to indicate preference or necessity, with adverbs, adjectives, and phrases of comparison, such as rather, better, as well (Ex.: I had better leave) …   English World dictionary

  • HAD — fue un cohete sonda australiano de dos etapas basado en los motores Gosling y LAPStar británicos. Se lanzaron 66 HAD en total, entre el 24 de abril de 1961 y el 1 de noviembre de 1966, básicamente en misiones de aeronomía. Especificaciones Apogeo …   Wikipedia Español

  • Had — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Marián Had (* 1982), slowakischer Fußballspieler HaD ist die Abkürzung für eine Periode der Hallstattzeit Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • had — hȃd m DEFINICIJA 1. (Had) mit. a. grčki bog podzemnog svijeta, brat Zeusa i Posejdona, s kojima je podijelio vlast nad svijetom b. podzemni svijet koji omeđuje pet rijeka i kamo odlaze duše (sjene) umrlih nakon što im bog Had izrekne presudu 2.… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • had|n't — «HAD uhnt», had not …   Useful english dictionary


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