Difference Between Had and Did

Had vs Did
 

Difference between had and did has to be understood clearly without any confusion, if you are to apply them correctly in English grammar. Had and did are two verbs used in English language that have to be understood with precision, especially when it comes to understanding their meanings and application. Both these words differ from each other in terms of their usage, as well. The word had is used as an auxiliary verb in the formation of past perfect tense of the main verb. On the other hand, the word did is used as the past tense form of the verb ‘do’. This is the main difference between the two words, namely, ‘had’ and ‘did’.

What does Had mean?

Had as the past tense of the verb have means to possess, own or hold. It is interesting to note that unlike ‘have’, had is used in the formation of past perfect tense in all the three persons, namely, first person, second person and third person. Let us see a few examples.

I had given my book to Angela.

You had known him for the last few years.

She had seen him two years ago.

In all the sentences mentioned above, you can see that the auxiliary verb had is used in the formation of past perfect tense forms of the various verbs such as ‘give’, ‘know’ and ‘see’ respectively. The past participle forms are ‘given’, ‘known’ and ‘seen’ respectively. This is an important observation to make in the usage of the auxiliary verb had.

On the other hand, had is sometimes used in the sense of ‘if’ as in the sentence, ‘Had you come early, we would have been there by now’. In this sentence the word had is used in the sense of ‘if’.

What does Did mean?

On the other hand, the verb did is also used in the case of all the three persons, namely, first person, second person and third person. It is used as the past tense form of the verb ‘do’ as in the examples given below. As the past tense of do, did also means perform an action.

I did the homework for him.

You did not understand the question properly.

Angela did not run fast.

In all the three sentences given above, you can see that the verb did is used as the past tense form of the verb ‘do’. It is also used in the three persons. It is interesting to note that in the second sentence it is used along with another verb ‘understand’ in the negative sense. Likewise, it is used along with another verb ‘run’ in the third sentence in the negative sense. Thus, it can be understood that the form did can also give negative meaning or sense if used with the word ‘not’.

Difference Between Had and Did

Another important usage of did is that it can be used in the formation of questions too. In short, it can be said that it can be used in interrogative sentences as in the examples.

Did you not come yesterday?

Did I know the truth?

Did Francis understand the situation better?

In all the three examples given above, you can see that the form did is used in interrogative sentences. This is also an important observation to make in the case of the usage of the verb did. If you change the sentence, ‘did I know the truth’ as ‘had I known the truth, I would have come,’ the meaning becomes completely different. ‘Did I know?’ is just a question. ‘Had I known’ gives the sense of ‘if’ making it a conditional sentence.

What is the difference between Had and Did?

• The word had is used as an auxiliary verb in the formation of past perfect tense of the main verb.

• On the other hand, the word did is used as the past tense form of the verb ‘do’.

• Verb did used with not gives negative meaning.

• Verb did is also used to make interrogative sentences.

• Sometimes the word had is used in the sense of ‘if.’