What is difference between didn't have and hadn't? I have learnt to build questions in past simple with an auxiliary verb do. When can we use the second form?

Do these two sentences below have the same meaning?

I didn't have a car last Friday.

I hadn't a car last Friday.

Thanks for an explanation.

  • Does this address your question adequately?
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


I didn't have a car last Friday

says roughly the same as

I hadn't a car last Friday.

The first statement represents the more usual construction today. Remove the negative:

I did have a car last Friday


I had a car last Friday

and the relationship between the two statements remains. The verb "to do" adds a little emphasis in the first statement, but does not alter the meaning.

The most common construction these days to express the negative in this statement without the verb "to do" would be:

I had no car last Friday.

  • Thanks @J.Taylor . Can we use the construction with did verb common? I mean e.g.: I did work in my lab yesterday. or I worked .... is still usual. Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 17:05
  • 1
    @Ľubomír Masarovič....The verb "to do" assisting another verb is most common as a negative... "I didn't work in my lab yesterday"; as a positive statement "I worked in my lab" , without "to do" is more common.. "I did work" is more emphatic than "I worked" ..."I did work" is used to leave no doubt that "I worked". Likewise, "I did have a car last Friday" leaves no doubt. that "I had a car". However, as a negative statement, "I didn't have a car" is much more common than "I had not a car". so, "I worked not" is uncommon use, but "I didn't work" is common usage. That is what it is today.
    – J. Taylor
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:01

Usually, do is omitted in English sentence except in question. It is possible to say I do have sth but this is shortened to I have. However in questions you must say Do I have? therefore because did or didn't is the form of do you can just use the second sentence I hadn't ... unless you are forced to use the first one.


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