2

If I had had money, I would have bought this car.

My book says that in place of "had had", only "had" should be there. But I am confused about it, please help.

5

This is a classic example of the use of the past subjunctive (had) versus the past perfect subjunctive (had had) in English. If you say,

If I had had money, I would have bought this car.

both the protasis (if-part) and the apodosis (then-part) talk about events in the past that are counterfactual. If you were to say,

If I had money, I would have bought this car.

it would not make any sense since the protasis talks about a present counterfactual event whereas the apodosis talks about a past counterfactual event. For example:

If I had money (now), I would have bought this car (last year).

If I had had money (last year), I would have bought this car (last year).

If your grammar book says that only "had" should be there instead of "had had", then it's either a strange sentence syntagma or it's absolutely wrong.

I hope that might have helped you out. Take care and good luck.

2

Your sentence looks absolutely okay to me!

The best source I can find on this is BBC. It says that we use have as a main verb in many cases. One of the examples quoted there is:

have a (good) job/some work to do/money/an opportunity/a chance

It further describes while mentioning 'had had':

Note that past perfect forms are a feature of if-clauses in the third type of conditional sentence when we are explaining past actions or regretting past inaction. Thus, had had is likely to appear in this construction:

The example you give suits this piece of instruction. So,

If I had had money, I would have bought this car.

...sounds fine.

2

"Had" or "had had" shows only 1 thing, and that is the timeline.

You need to have the money before you can buy anything!

So if you had had the money, then you would have bought this car. The money comes first here in time, ie, before you make the decision to buy this car.

If you only use had, then it's unclear when you had the money. It can be before or after you have the idea to buy that car, so had had is correct. Had is unclear, thus wrong.

-2

If I had money, I would buy a car. (If clause type 2)

This sentence means that you still don't have money and because of this you still don't have a car now, here, despite that you are talking about the past but this is affect to the present or connected to it ( so this the nearest past)

If I had had money, I would have bought a car. (If clause type 3)

This is different situation: here you are talking about the very far past, that not connected to the present, what means that now you might have money and also might have a car, but you are talking about the very far past like this:

(When I was young) If I had had money, I would have bought a car.

This was before long time that not effected to the present because now I have money and I also have a car.

  • 1
    There's nothing in this syntax that requires the "very far" past. Just the past. These are subjunctive constructions, so they work differently. Hence your first example being in the present (as you noted) and the second example simply being in the past. – SamBC Feb 24 at 15:03

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