Grammar question: Did you have to...?

When, where, how, why, what, could you tell me, can you tell me, do you know, isn't it, didn't they, etc. Discuss Wh questions, indirect questions, and tag questions.

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James Trotta
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Grammar question: Did you have to...?

Postby James Trotta » Sat Apr 15, 2006 6:56 am

I learned my first lessons of the English language about 40 years ago with an English teacher. One of the first grammar rules that he teached his students was the following: the verbs "to be" and "to have" are, as in most languages, irregular verbs and they make their negative and interrogative forms as well as the past tense without the auxiliary verb "to do".

For instance, it is incorrect to say: "I don't have anything to eat" or " Did you have to say that?" as you never say "I don't be a teacher " or "Do I am a teacher" Nevertheless I see these forms of negative and interrogative for the verb "to have" ( did you have, you don't have to..., etc. )everywhere now, including on your web quiz and in other books and writings one would expect to be free of grammar errors.

Can you explain the phenomenon?
I can not explain it, but both "I don't have anything to eat" or " Did you have to say that?" are correct. I feel that memorizing every grammar rule and every exception to every rule is an impossible task so I wouldn't worry too much about why these sentences are correct.

The pattern is useful:

Did you have to say that?
Did you have to copy my homework?
Did you have to pick a fight with the biggest guy in the bar?

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english grammar is..

Postby scarlettO » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:38 pm

english grammar has so many exceptions, as pointed out by Professor Trotta. In the example, you can easily change the sentence to the present tense by saying do you have...

and by putting Why at the beginning...why do you, or why did you...etc., etc... :)

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Did I have to..?

Postby LeeJooHan(int) » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:48 am

Did I have to do homework in time?
Yes, you had to do.. exactly..
But...I didn't..


Postby suno4rum » Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:20 am

In English the sentence which denies something is built in the “Logicalâ€? way, so you just say “I have nothingâ€? or “I don’t have anythingâ€?. English is simply analytical (and you can find lot of examples even in statements). On the other hand – many languages (Slavic for ex.) build this kind of sentences with completely “illogicalâ€? “double disclaimerâ€?. I believe in your Mother Tongue you have this feature. So just remember the difference – and you will not make any mistakes.

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