had've or had of

Thomas Tompion

Senior Member
English - England
We have had a lot of threads about conditionals this week and I'm surprised that a common habit which troubles me has not been mentioned, and also that it doesn't seem to have been aired on the forums, as far as I can tell from the dictionary.

A lot of people in BE say 2nd conditional sentences as "If I had've gone, I would have seen her". I think they imagine they are saying "If I had have gone, I would have seen her". There must seem something missing to them in "If I had gone, I would have seen her".

I was amused to find an American academic railing against the expression, so I am clearly not alone, and this is not solely a BE phenomenon.

I wondered what members' experience has been of this form.
 
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  • Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    I have heard similar expressions many times.

    It is particularly common in very rapid speech "If I'd'a' gone, I would'a seen her"
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I have heard similar expressions many times.

    It is particularly common in very rapid speech "If I'd'a' gone, I would'a seen her"
    Mmm, I think that's right: it's an interpolated schwa which is rationalised to either "of" or "have".

    I seem to recall that se16teddy has the theory that the interpolated schwa derived from the former prefix "a-": he had been a-hunting etc.

    It seems plausible:)
     
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