Dear All,

I recently saw the following sentences on the internet. The first is from an United Nations article :

"Despite that progress, however, there had had been heightened tension and unrest in the north of the country, said Mr. Fall..."

and from the BBC,

"The militant group, Islamic Jihad, which had had beenholding the journalist announced his release in a statement delivered to a news agency in the capital, Beirut."

1) Is 'had had been' correct or a typing error?

2) If 'had had been' can be used, how is it used?

I can't find anything on it in my grammar books but the internet has many examples of 'had had been'.

Many thanks.

Original Post
It seems to me to be a over-correction these days.

When not anywhere on the Web, but at an educated site such as the New York Times one finds:

68,400 from for "there had been"

3 from for "there had had been".

one can safely assume that the 1st one is the hugely dominant one for most of the users.


had been: past perfect
was: simple past

thus "had been" IS a past perfect, no need to overemphasize that.

As you can see, the majority at this selective/educated site doesn't feel that need, and doesn't feel that the 2nd brings anything more to the table. Otherwise, they would use it.

BTW, I've found a discussion in another forum, pointing to the same conclusion: "had had been" is incorrect.
Jerry, you've got a typo. After "BTW" you wrote has been = past perfect. Of course you know it's present perfect! Wink

And here's a little note for Ricky:

I notice you wrote "an United Nations article." I don't know if that was a typo, too, or if you deliberately wrote an. It actually should be a United Nations article, Ricky.

We use a because the rule for deciding which form of the indefinite article to use is based on pronunciation, not writing. The first sound in united is NOT a vowel, Ricky; it's a glide, which is considered a semi-consonant. That's why we say a union, not an union.

The same holds true before nouns like university, urologist, and unit. Always use a before these nouns. Smile

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