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??? have had? I can't understand this meaning. How can I understand this?

Had the laboratory staff finished their safety study by schedule deadline, the company would not have had to delay the production of the new line of sports equipment.

  • They do mean the same and are both grammatical. The second however (to me, I'm sure others will disagree) conveys that the question was personal or that the questioner was shy about asking. – James Webster Oct 16 '13 at 12:12
  • Is there a mistake? "Had the laboratory staff finished ... the company would not have had to delay ..." – Kaz Oct 16 '13 at 14:22
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You're perhaps not recognising the particular verb here, one of several different uses of have:

  • have to means be obliged to, or must

So would have had to means would have been obliged to.

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You need to understand the rule connected with the auxiliary verb "have". If "have" is used as an auxiliary verb, then the verb followed by "have" should be in the past participle form. Consider the following example.

I have finished my homework.

The verb "finish" has taken the participle form in this sentence since "have" is used before the verb "finish".

"Have" can be used as a verb as well. Consider the following sentence.

I am having lunch now.

Now take a look at your sentence. "Would have had to", the first "have" is the auxiliary verb and "had" is the past participle form of the verb "have".

To make this clearer, consider the following example.

I have had many opportunities in life, but I failed to make use of them.

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The difficulty may be because the sentence is an example of a reduced conditional clause. If it is expanded and slightly reordered, the sentence reads:

If the laboratory staff had finished their safety study by schedule deadline, the company would not have had to delay the production of the new line of sports equipment.

(Not has been added to the main clause in order to ensure that the sentence makes sense.)

Reduced conditional clauses sound somewhat more formal than their full equivalents.

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