I am watching a video about a person with body modifications, and the person counting modifications he has done, he's saying

I've had my ears removed, I've had my tongue bifurcated, I've had my eyeball sclera permanently stained green ...

Can you explain to me why he uses present perfect I have had?


  • Because that's what he has so far done with his body. – Michael Rybkin Feb 3 '19 at 21:57
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    He could have phrased his discussion about past operations in any number of ways. That's just one of many acceptable ways. Is there something that makes you think it's inappropriate? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Feb 3 '19 at 22:02

When someone is going to get their ears pierced for earrings, they can say "I'm going to get my ears pierced". They can also say "I'm going to have my ears pierced".

That evening, someone might ask them what they did that day. One thing they might say is "I got my ears pierced", but they could instead say "I had my ears pierced".

When someone asks them if they have any piercings, they can say "I've had my ears pierced".

You would also use the same structure to say what diseases you've had. "I've had mumps", "I've had rubella", "I've had plague". You can also use it for any experience where you talk about that experience in terms of having. So, as we say that someone 'has' sex, we can say that they "have had sex".

It can even be for physical objects that you once had, and don't any more. "I've had a pet dog" indicates that you once had a pet dog, but don't any more. But wait! Add a duration on the end of that, and it means you do have a pet dog: "I've had a pet dog for two years". Yes, the first version could be just "I had a pet dog", but the 'have had' construction will be more natural for many speakers if they are in a group who's asked "has anyone here had a pet dog?"

The structure overall is about connecting the past with the present. It is something that you can say, now, that you had at some point. Maybe you still do. The thing that differentiates these different cases are the different senses of having. Sometimes it's about possession, as in the pet dog. Even the diseases are possession, in a sense. Do you possess your ear piercings? Perhaps. But the have here might also refer to the idea of "having something done". Thus having your ear pierced is like having your car waxed. Depending on tone and context, that list of thing's he "has had" are the things that we might say he's had done, that is the things that he has caused to happen, the things he has instructed others to do.

Well, that was a bit of a ramble that may not have answered the question, but that's largely because I'm not sure exactly what your question was. You ask why he used that construction, but don't say what you think he should have used. Perhaps, given the vagueness of the question, my ramble will have helped you understand in some way.

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