Learn to Speak English Easily: Using ‘had’

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


In the previous unit you have learnt making Questions with ‘have’ and ‘has’ and in this unit you will learn the “Using ‘had’”.

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

Using ‘had’

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

  • 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’.  and to refer to any ‘past illness‘.

I had noodles last evening.
They had bread and butter for breakfast.
The minister had a pizza for dinner.

We had mango juice.

  • To talk about a ‘past experience‘.

We had a great time on the trip.
Elizabeth had a memorable holiday in Switzerland.

The dog had a gala time in the park.

  • To talk about a ‘past illness

I had a bad cold yesterday.
He had chicken pox last year.

Raju had Malaria last week.

  • 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.

Use of ‘had’ in Negative Sentences

I had some money.
I hadn’t any money.
I did not/didn’t have any money. (We can use did not/didn’t to make negative sentences)

You had informed the manager.
You had not/hadn’t informed the manager.
You did not/didn’t inform the manager.

We had the stamina to finish the work.
We hadn’t the stamina to finish the work.
We did not/didn’t have the stamina to finish the work.

They had the patience to wait.
They hadn’t the patience to wait.
They did not/didn’t have the patience to wait.

He/She had the required qualification.
He/She hadn’t the required qualification.
He/She did not/didn’t have the required qualification.

The dog/It had sone disease.
The dog/It hadn’t any disease.
The dog/It did not/didn’t have any disease.

Positive and Negative Contracted Forms of ‘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.



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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