Learn to Speak English Easily: Use of ‘had’

Learn to speak English fluently using TLP Spoken English Course. The course is designed to facilitate self-learning in an easy way. It is organised into units to help you learn step by step in a simple and systematic way. You should go through all the units to be able to speak fluently. To know more you can read: How to Use the Course Content?


In the previous unit making Questions with ‘have’ and ‘has’ was discussed and in this unit ‘Use of ‘had” is illustrated.

Use of ‘had’

Had’ is the past tense form of ‘have’ and ‘has’. We use ‘had’ with ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘they’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ and name of a person. We use ‘had‘ —

  • To talk about possession like one’s property or something which was with a person.

I had five acres of land in the village.
We had a farm house.
She had a good job last year.
The house had a big compound wall. 

  • To talk about a past relationship.

John/He had many friends in his college.    
Reena/She had twins last year.
He had a sister in Australia.

  • To talk about past actions relating to ‘eating’ or ‘drinking’. Also to talk about a past experience and to refer to any past illness.

I had noodles last evening.
They had bread and butter for breakfast.
We had a great time on the trip.
I had a bad cold yesterday.
He had chicken pox last year.

  • To form the past perfect tense.

I had visited the museum.
The minister had made many promises. 
My parents had managed the funds.
Sheela/She had played the match well.

Positive and Contracted Forms With ‘had’

Positive Form Negative Form Negative Contracted Form.
had had not hadn’t

Positive and Negative Contracted Forms With ‘had’

Positive Form Positive Contracted Form Negative Form Negative Contracted Form
I had I’d I had not I hadn’t
You had You’d You had not You hadn’t
We had We’d We had not We hadn’t
They had They’d They had not  They hadn’t
It had —- It had not  It hadn’t

Use of ‘had to’

  • To talk about compulsion or an obligation in reference to the past.

I had to take up the job.
We had to vacate the house.
They had to leave the country last year.
My relatives had to perform the marriage.

Use of “hadn’t”

We use “hadn’t” to make negative sentences.
I hadn’t any money.
You hadn’t informed the manager.
We hadn’t the stamina to finish the work.
They hadn’t the patience to wait.
He/She hadn’t the required qualification.
It hadn’t any disease.


Write more sentences using the examples, which you can use in your day-to-day conversation on your own and practice orally.

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