which sentence is correct?

you already have one.


you already had one.

I'm confused.


Both sentences are valid.

Tunny is correct that context is key here. To expand on this:

You already have one.

would commonly be used where you already possess one.

You already had one.

would be used to say you already consumed one.


You would say

you already have a cookie

to a child who is holding a cookie and asking for another.

But you would say

you already had a cookie

to a child who already ate a cookie and is asking for another.

  • Both versions could refer to possession: "I want a green hat." / "You already had one -- I gave it to you for your birthday two years ago -- and you never wore it, so you ended up throwing it away last year. Remember?" – Scott Nov 21 '14 at 22:14
  • @Scott You are correct. I meant to use consumed to mean used up or expended. – Luke Nov 21 '14 at 22:18
  • “I came here for an argument!” No, seriously, I’m not disagreeing with your suggestion that “You already had one.” could refer to a situation where the “one” had been used up or expended; I’m just saying that it can also refer to possession. Modify my example to “… you ended up giving it away last year,” and it’s clear that the hat doesn’t need to be used up or expended (although it probably is gone in some sense). – Scott Nov 21 '14 at 22:25
  • @Scott Yeah, I agree that the hat is not exactly expended in this case, but as far as you is concerned, the hat is a bygone resource. Perhaps it would be more useful for my answer to simply explain that have/had are for present/past tense. – Luke Nov 21 '14 at 22:30

Both sentences are possible. Only context can tell which is appropriate.

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