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"Lui aveva avuto dei problemi."

Translation:He had had some problems.

February 20, 2014



As in - John had had but Jane had had had had had had pleased the teacher better. John had 'had' but Jane had 'had had'. 'Had had' had pleased the teacher better.


John had had had but Jane had had had had; had had had pleased the teacher more. John had had 'had' but Jane had had 'had 'had'; 'had had' had pleased the teacher more.


I had one more "had" than you have:

Jane, while John had had 'had,' had had 'had had;' 'had had' had had a better effect on the professor.

In other words, I, while you had had "had had 'had had'; 'had had' had," had had "had had 'had,' had had 'had had;' 'had had' had had;" "had had 'had,' had had 'had had;' 'had had' had had" had had "had" many more times in a row.

Now that sentence has thirty-six "had"s in a row. And it describes something that actually happened!


Nice try, but you would need a semi-colon in there (after the 3rd of the 6 hads), it doesn't work as a single standalone sentence unfortunately.


I'm just so pleased with the world today knowing there are people like this also using Duolingo. Thhhhhhhank-a-ha-you.


Sounds like Max Headroom is ba ba back! :-)


HAD HAD HAD you know i don't think this can be taken serious. one had is enough thanks


thanks i hate this tense


Didn't say it was wrong. Said it was unnecessary. But it is wrong. It's a colloquialism. It should be HAS had. Just because you understand it doesn't make it correct.


No, 'he'd had' = 'he had had'. For 'he has had' you would say 'he's had' -- as in 'Be nice to him, he's had a bad day.'


Both of them are past tense. There's no functional difference, except that one is valid and the other isn't. It's bad English to repeat words unnecessarily, and since there's always a way to phrase your sentences to avoid these... There's no valid excuse for it to ever occur.


David, please see some of the other comments on this page, where some very good explanations are given for the difference between 'has had' and 'had had'.


Again... Just because you understand it doesn't make it valid. I can explain why kicking someone in the behind makes them move faster but it doesn't make it right for me to do.


They invited me to dinner, but I had (past perfect) eaten (past participle) already. (To eat is a verb so it can be conjugated to eaten)

With the same token:

They invited me to breakfast, but I had (past perfect) had (past participle) breakfast already. (breakfast is a noun so you need to add 'have' to use it as a verb, just like 'problems')


But these lessons miss the point of the Trapassato Prossimo. The sentences should be about a thing that happened before another thing in the past. These are basically half sentences.


The English here confuses some people because it uses two 'had's next to each other. It is easier to see the grammar if you choose a different verb, for example. 'finish': 'I had finished hiding the evidence before the police arrived.' (You would not say 'I have finished hiding the evidence before the police arrived'.)

Now consider a similar sentence using 'have' as the main verb as well as the helping verb: 'I had not had time to hide the evidence before the police arrived'. (Notice that there are two 'had's in the second sentence, one main, one helping.)

Finally, take the second sentence and make it positive: 'I had had time to hide the evidence before the police arrived.'


I knew the sentence was correct, but your example is an excellent way of identifying the sentence structure. Thanks!


Being a native English speaker I'm aware of 'had had' and what it means, what I don't understand here is why there are two different Italian words. Why is it not 'lui aveva aveva...' or 'lui avuto avuto...'


The construction is (nearly) the same in both languages. In English it is called the past perfect, in Italian the trapassato prossimo. It is formed by combining the past tense of "to have" = "avere" with the past participle of a verb:

He had eaten. = Lui aveva mangiato.

The past participle (participio passato) of "avere" is "avuto." But both the past participle and the past tense of "to have" are "had." That is what makes it look like something different is going on in Italian and English.

(Note: I said "nearly" the same because in Italian the particular past tense of "avere" used is the imperfetto. Also, intransitive verbs form the trapassato prossimo with "essere" instead of "avere." But I was trying to keep things simple.)


Expanding on your excellent answer, I think part of the difficulty lies in that both in English and in Italian you end up with two verb forms that sound similar or exactly the same (English). For Spanish speakers, there is an identical tense but it uses the auxiliary “haber” instead of “tener” both of which mean “to have”. So, “had had” doesn’t come out sounding so much like you are duplicating things. Él había tenido unos problemas)


A good question, as it looks like English just uses the same word twice! But those two hads actually have quite different functions.

The oldest Germanic words in English differentiated between the simple past and the past particle.

  • He took vs. He has taken
  • He saw vs. He has seen
  • He ran vs. He has run

While some of these historic words have retained their original conjugation, the new words that came into the language (a lot from Latin Greek roots) were much simpler, and soon even some of the old Germanic words had their conjugations simplified.

  • He exchanged vs. He has exchanged
  • He cooked vs. He has cooked
  • He played vs. He has played.

Have is one of those ancient verbs that has been simplified in recent centuries, leading to:

  • He had vs. He has had.

So, in "He had had", what you have is the simple past (as an auxiliary) followed by the past participle. Two different forms of the verb, but they have evolved to look and sound the same!

In Middle English it would have been He hadde yhad!


What is the difference between all these: "had had" and "have/has had" and how are they differ from past tenses? and why and when sould I use "had had" instead of regular past tenses?


Why isn't it 'he has had some problems '


"He has had some problems" is the present perfect. It refers to his problems during some time period extending to the present time, right now:

  • Yes he has had some problems getting the work done, but he will try harder from now on.

But the Italian sentence "Lui aveva avuto dei problemi" is in the trapassato prossimo which refers to an action completed before some time or event in the past. The corresponding tense in English is the past perfect, which is formed by combining "had" (the past tense of "to have") with the past participle of another verb. For example,

  • "She had walked all the way to work by the time he woke up."

Since the past participle of "to have" is also "had," we end up with "had had." Here is an example using the past perfect once and the present perfect twice:

Before the radioactive bee stung him, he had had some problems getting the work done. Since that fateful sting, he has had no problem at all. The past six months have been the most productive of his life.


Definitely Lingo worthy! Thanks


I don't understand because the use of two had English? Can someone help me?


In English, when talking about an action that was completed before some event in the past, we use the past perfect tense. To form it, combine the word "had" (the past tense of "to have") with the past participle of a verb. For example, the past participle of "to eat" is "eaten":

  • When the dessert arrived, he didn't want it anymore. He had eaten too much already.

Now, the past participle of "to have" is also "had." The same word as the past tense. So when we form the past perfect of "to have" we end up with "had had":

  • He couldn't sleep last night because he had had six cups of coffee before going to bed.

Note: Often, but not always, you can use the simple past "had" instead of "had had" without significantly changing the meaning of a sentence:

  • He couldn't sleep last night because he had six cups of coffee before going to bed.

That sentence is still correct and tells essentially the same story.


Although I am not an English native, I have never heard or seen of it and it makes for me extra complicated. But thanks for your effort to explain.


Having just finished this exercise (which feels like a major acheivement in itself), I wonder if this really a good sentence to start this already tricky subject on. I'm not afraid to say I took to make sense of this sentence than any of the other.


I think that within each module the Duo program picks sentences at random, so yes -- sometimes they do not ease you into an exercise.

But as for the problem itself (had had): he had walked, he had run, he had eaten. he had been, he had had ...There's a pattern!


You can't apply a pattern to one exercise.


I agree. It seems to be difficult even for native English speakers, but there are many people here, who speak different native languages than English.

If they would desire to dive down to the deepest multiple had mysteries of the English language they would probably take an English course and not an Italian course. Since there is still no [fill in the native language here]-Italian course, it would be nice if DL would take the situation of those members into consideration and start with sentences like those ION1122 gave as examples. Once this is mastered they can create a "had had" skill four inches further down on the pages.

The effort wasted on a sentences like that, in addition with delusive drop down menus, sometimes truly lousy audio and the desperate attempt to find answers in the discussions often eat up the whole time unit and more, that I scheduled for a certain time of a day or for a whole skill, which is demotivating and far from my understanding of "fun".


Would it not be better to translate as “He had been having some problems” instead of using the awkward “had had”? Or is that another tense altogether? Learning Italian is teaching me all the things I hate about English!


As Sim_Bee said, "had had" (past perfect) and "had been having" (past perfect progressive) yield similar meanings in this case. The progressive adds the idea his problems had continued for some period of time. But "had had" is the better translation because the English past perfect corresponds exactly to the Italian trapassato prossimo, which is the tense of the sentence we are translating.


Language experts will probably know the names for the difference between "had been having' and 'had had', though I agree they are very similar ideas. However I think 'he had had' is simpler - because in normal usage it becomes 'he'd had'


Scotty, if for some reason you don't like "he had had", you can always subsititute "he'd had", which one hears all the time. But drop the idea that you should replace "had had" with the past perfect progressive, which is not the same thing and which is not a good translation of the Italian we are given here.


Why is aveva avuto correct and not avevo avuto?


Because the third person singular imperfect (imperfetto) conjugation of "avere" is "aveva":

"Lui aveva . . ." = "He had . . ."


Actually *third person:

  • (io) avevo
  • (lu/lei) aveva


Oops. I edited my post per your correction. Thanks.


Sorry, but is it too much to ask for some tips on this lecture? I know, trapassato prossimo is no big deal, but even if most of us learn grammar from other sources, it would be nice to put at least some basic information about major grammatical categories. Duolingo would be even better with more grammar.


Why were two different forms of "had" used aveva avuto? Why not aveva aveva, or avuto avuto?


Short answer: Because that tense is formed by combining the imperfect (aveva) with the participle (avuto).

Long answer: See my reply to Boudicca23, above.


It's good English, but I'd tend to avoid the second had by saying "He had experienced some problems". I've no idea if Duolingo accepts that.


Jim, that is a good solution for those who don't like "had had".


I was marked wrong for "problems" they wanted "issues"


What is the difference in the USE between this tense and the imperfect tense?


It's the same as in English. The past perfect is used to describe an event that took place at a point in the past prior to some other point in the past.

For example, "He had hidden the body before the police arrived." The arrival of the police is an event in the past, and the hiding of the body is an event that takes place even farther in the past.

"He had had some problems ever since his mother died, but last Wednesday his therapy led to a breakthrough."

The DL exercises are a bit artificial in that they usually mention only the remoter (farther past) event, and not the more recent past event against which the more remote event is being contrasted.


here DL uses 'had had ..' and not ..' could have had ' …


Any ideas why "issues" was not accepted? Thanks


I keep getting thrown off when she says, "avunto." I have to keep remembering that the "n" isn't really there. Fortunately the program recognizes it as a typo.


Didn't say it was wrong. Said it was unnecessary. So slow your roll.


Way too often I go to type the second word in my answer and all of a sudden the sentence is solved at the bottom left corner and my answer shows as incorrect. Duolingo can be very frustrating at times.


As a brazilian, I have to ask: What is wrong with the english language???


'Had had' is just about the worst English conjunction FULL STOP! It is never used in good language - 'He'd had' or simple HE HAD - nearly as bad as that interminable monstrosity GOT - there is always a substitute - recieved/ obtained/ acquired/ accepted - NEVER GOT!


As you will see from the many comments on this page, had had is a perfectly correct and widely used use of the verb 'to have'. 'He'd had', as you say, is more widely used in spoken english and IS a contraction of 'he had had'. 'He had' is a completely different tense with a different meaning. I agree with you about the over-use of 'got'!


So you all just had, had, had to do it.


problema = s (m) problemi = pl not e


La risposta corretta è brutto :-(


has had is common had had is not. Avere imperfetto is Avevo, Avevi, Aveva, Avevamo, vate, vano. with verbs that use avere as auxiliary. Ero, eri, era, eravamo, eravate, erano is tough and used with PP of motion, etc. This conjugation had been studying, swimming, had left (already) had read .

So, when imperfect of avere, ave- + vo, vi, va, vamo, etd This is had + that verb's past tense = . The past tense of avere , present has, is had. So with the imperfect form of avere must be "had" and the past tense must be "had." Just like any other past tense verb (formed by PP) = HAD left, studied, read, jumped, etc.


This does not make sense ?


'has had' has a much better ring to it than 'had had'. Don't you think??? Native english speakers?


I don't think it has a better ring. It has a completely different function in the sentence. Having said that I think colloquially the 'had had' or in general the past perfect is often omitted if the order of event's context is clear, e.g. 'He had breakfast before he went to school.' ( simple past + simple past) is often used instead of the grammatically correct 'He had had breakfast before he went to school.' (past perfefect + simple past)

However, if I was recounting the events in a newspaper article, to the police or in an English exam ;-) , I would use the past perfect + simple past version 'He had had breakfast before he went to school.'

Going back to the 'has had' (present perfect). Whereas, the 'had had' event (past perfect) ends in the past before another event takes place, the 'has had' starts in the past but is still relevant to now and following events are still waiting to happen (1) / or will/might never happen (2) e.g. 'He has had breakfast so he can go to school.'(1)

Hope this helps! I've written far more than I intended to.(2)


Thank you for such a detailed explanation.


Not too long at all.. it is a difficult concept for non-native (and a lot of native) speakers to grasp and your explanation is full and clear. As for writing for newspapers - I am not sure they ALL would want past perfect+simple past - especially the ones that seem to have a style guide that dictate no more than six words to a sentence! :)


Thanks for the feedback. :-D


He has had some problems , he had had some problems would never be said


The difference between "has had" and "had had" has been explained several times on this page already. See, for example, Ketutsf's replies to AydinBuyak and Guilhermed989873, and Dorundiz's reply to Raowa.


lui aveva avuto de problem ?? deiiiii problemiiiiiiiiiii


singular: il problema, plural i problemi. dei = di i which means some in this case


It sounds like some people need to take English grammar before learning a foreign language. Especially now with social media and even newspapers using wrong grammar. People used to read literature (the teal thing, not Dan Brown) to learn proper usage. I could howl out of frustration .. hey i didn't use a single tpr or pp..


again the concept of HAD HAD always sound like ❤❤❤❤❤❤ English


Again - it is not "❤❤❤❤❤❤" english, it is perfectly correct english. Have you never said "He'd had a bad, but then it got better"? Then you are using had had. "He'd had" is a contraction of "He had had..".


The correct translation is: he did have problems. 'He had had' does not exist in English. 'He did have' is correct. 'Some problems' is incorrect. It should be 'problems'. Alcuni problemi is some problems.


As you will see from the MANY comments here, 'had had' does exist in english and is absolutely correct. In general spoken use it often becomes 'he'd had'. Have you never said something like 'he needed a glass of wine because he'd had a bad day at the office'? - that is 'had had'.


'he had had issues' should be accepted,especially since DL specializes on American English

  • 1649

"Had had" is very awkward in English.


In everyday English ....no one says HAD HAD twice , I don't give a ❤❤❤❤ what some English scholar says ...it just does not happen


Hmm, you're wrong here, it may sound archaic but it IS used.


It's almost literally painful for me when I see someone double use a word like this... This is NEVER necessary. I can't express enough how much I hate this sentence... In both languages.


I am sorry, but you are SO wrong - it is a completely right and widely used tense in the English language. Have you never said something like : 'He'd had a bad day at the office, but he felt better when he got home' ..?- that is HAD HAD...


David, you need professional help.


Has had sounds a lot better than had, had! I will look out for this in the next book I read but am sure I have never ever come across this!!


It isn't a question of which sounds better - they are two different tenses with different meanings, as is well explained elsewhere in this discussion..


Had had. I would never say that. Has had should give you a correct answer not completely wrong. Not a good question


who is the moron who says had had


Well, any moron who knows how to form the past perfect of the verb "have," I suppose.


Read the comments before you start calling people 'moron'. "Had had" is a perfectly correct and well used grammatical phrase.


Ridiculous! "He has had problems" or He has problems" would be accepted in English or simply: "He's had problems".

  • 2668

That's a different tense. Consider the sentences

  • When I applied for this one I had had several jobs
  • When I applied for this one I had several jobs

Would you say they're equivalent? To me, the second one means that I had those jobs at the same time at that point in time, because all events are in the same tense; the point of past perfect is to place one of the events earlier than the other.


questa è una spiegazione chiara, grazie!


couldn't you say I (((had )))) many several jobs at once and In the past , I had many jobs during those years ..........there is never a need where one must use HAD HAD twice in the English language ...there is no flow to using HAD HAD twice


Just because it might be acceptable in sloppy everyday speech, does not mean that the correct grammatical answer, using the correct tense, is 'ridiculous'!


thank you Grazie per la vostra spiegazione


He has had some problems would be a more acceptable answer I think.


That is the present perfect:

  • He has had some problems (Recently)

The past perfect however, is the past in the past, effectively:

  • He had had some problems (A long time ago, he doesn't have any now)


Although I like the fact that you know how to use it and categorize it, that is not the correct explanation.

When we use the present perfect, we are talking about "owning" a complete action in terms of the PRESENT.

E.g., I have watched every single Star Wars movie.

It doesn't matter if it has happened recently or not - in fact, I watched them for the first time when I was 9. What matters is that I "own" the action in terms of the present.

Now, when I say "I had watched every single episode of The Simpsons up to their 10th season" it means that I owned that completed action - watching all the episodes - at a point in the PAST, therefore I use the PAST Perfect. Saying "I have watched all the episodes" would be Present Perfect and it would be wrong, due to the fact that I DO NOT "own" that action in terms of the present, but rather I "owned" it at a point in the past.

I hope that helps you understand it! As a language teacher I had always found that even my most advanced students struggled with it before they met me. If it is still unclear, I recommend drawing a timeline! It always helps :) Cheers!


But the Italian phrase is "Lui aveva avuto dei problemi", which doesn't translate as "has had" in any situation.


That's right, so it's Past Perfect. What I tried to explain above is that we don't choose Past v. Present Perfect if an action happened a while ago v. recently, but rather if the moment when that action is completed is a moment in the past or present.

E.g.: "I HAVEn't had lunch" means that at THIS MOMENT I do not "own" the action of eating lunch so it's PRESENT Perfect.


"I HADn't had lunch when we met" means that at the moment we met, in the PAST, I didn't "own" the action of eating lunch, so I use PAST Perfect.

I believe that (for whatever reason) some people are confused about saying "had had" - in fact, I use it too and I get wrongfully corrected before explaining why it is correct. The first had would be aveva (imperfect) while the second one would be avuto (past participle), both forming the tense known as trasspasatto prossimo (past perfect)


so had owned is the correct translation because many native English speaker do not use HAD HAD twice ...but anyway aveva avuto are two different words just like HAD OWNED .....in English we do use HAD for OWNED but we would never use HAD HAD same word twice as using HAD HAD , the same word twice would come across as sloppy spoken English so we would use had owned . ......so anyway I wonder if the correct true translation is Had owned .........I believe avuto is ownership had and aveva is a state of the past ......is that correct


Yes, that's what is says in Italian but it is not commonly accepted as a "literal" translation in colloquial English.


Brilliant explanation. Thank you.


I think you'll find that "He has had some problems" is present perfect rather than past imperfect. You're right about "He had had some problems" though, that is indeed past perfect.


Thanks, I've corrected it :)


Not so, had had is not acceptable to many English speakers. Has had is appropriate. After all, we are looking for the closest translation of meaning and not how many angels dance on the head of a pin.


better example ......a long time ago , he had some problems .......or in the past he had some problems which he no longer has ....................there is never a need to use HAD HAD twice in the English language . there just is no flow to it


WHAT?? he had had? who says that?



  • First had = Past perfect
  • Second had = Past participle

It just looks weird because there are two "had"s next to each other.


You can have up to four together; "All of the beliefs he had had had had no effect"


"He'd had" is more common in spoken English, or if we do say the two "hads" together, we pronounced them differently (almost like "he ed had."


Yeah. That sounds about right. Had had is one of those things that people always say but looks weird when you stop to think about it.


I have never heard HAD HAD spoken in everyday English .....upon reading everyone's explanations I have come to the conclusion it is HAD OWNED ........as in English we often use HAD for ownership( OWNED) but as so for a past state of condition

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