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What is the difference between

How could it had happened

and

How could it have happened

It would be better if anyone can show its usage in some kind of situation.

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  • 1
    how could it had happened makes no sense. – virmaior Jan 15 '14 at 3:51
  • 3
    how could it had happened is grammatically incorrect. To my knowledge, no normal adult native speaker of English would use that sentence, either in normal speech or in writing. – Pitarou Jan 15 '14 at 3:53
  • 5
    Could is a modal auxiliary and modal auxiliaries must be followed by an infinitive form of the next verb. Have is the next verb, and the infinitive form of have is have. Not had. That's all. – John Lawler Jan 15 '14 at 5:38
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John Lawler's comment provides a complete answer:

Could is a modal auxiliary and modal auxiliaries must be followed by an infinitive form of the next verb. Have is the next verb, and the infinitive form of have is have. Not had. That's all.

“How could it had happened” is therefore not a grammatical utterance.

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