... had [hӕd] ... have had [hӕv] [hӕd] ... have [hӕv] ... have [həv] ...
(audio source)

I hear the sounds of have and had as above. After some pronunciation guides from an expert StoneyB and BBC's pronunciation tips, I can hear the second examples as [hӕv] [hӕd]. If I haven't got the chances I might have transcribed them as /hev hed/. Might any native pronounce have, and had, respectively as /hev/, and /hed/?

  • Thanks for the bow, but I'm not an expert, merely an interested amateur with some practical experience! Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 14:34
  • I believe people in New Zealand do due to their accent
    – Deco
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


Three suggestions as to accents with this sort of pronunciation, South African, New Zealand, and possibly the bit that's either the north of England or south of Scotland which I think would be called Geordie.

I'm not absolutely sure as to the last, but the accents of the first two definitely carry that inflection, imho.

  • Good call. Wikipedia sv Geordie: “/æ/ specifically in the words had, have, has and having is pronounced as [ɛ].” sv South African English: “[/æ /] in Broad is often raised to [ɛ], so that /æ/ encroaches on /ɛ/ for some speakers. A good example of this is South Africa sounds more like South Efrica.” And a table sv New Zealand English gives /ɛ/ for the trap vowel (æ). Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:45
  • @StoneyB Thank you. I was concerned as to the pc-ness of calling out accents, so I'm relieved they've been called out officially. ... and I am definitely going to have to learn this IPA stuff.
    – mcalex
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 16:20

As a native of the eastern US, I usually pronounce the phrase have had with more stress on had, with consequent shifting of the pronunciation toward [hev][haed], and even dropping the ha as in I've had a good day. But some situations require stress on have, and then the vowels both have the [ae] pronunciation, as in I have had better days!

I wouldn't pronounce have or had with [e] if it is the main verb, but I can't be sure that this is the universal (or US-ual) pronunciation.

  • I think you've finally answered this question. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:32
  • 1
    @StoneyB -- thank you; I hadn't seen that. (And I do apologize for the totally nonstandard usage. Or US-age. It was just too obvious to resist,, albeit naughty.) Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 15:47
  • I intend to adopt it, even in the face of universal disapproval. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 16:17

When "had" is used for past perfect tense (i.e., "had jumped", "had looked", or even "had had") it's pronounced with either a short "e" sound or maybe a schwa sound rather than a short "a" sound.

Something similar applies as well for perfect and future perfect tenses with the word "have". For example, "will have been": "have" is not pronounced with a short "a", but rather a short "e" or schwa.

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