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Didn't've: Is it a word ?

(6 Posts)
AchyFox Tue 25-Feb-14 11:54:46

I wouldn't've imagined that.
They shouldn't've done that.


I didn't've time.

Doesn't sound right; but why ?

fedupandfifty Tue 25-Feb-14 13:13:08

I'd say them, but not write them. Not I didn't've time, though. Not quite sure why.

I woudn't've is clearly "I would not have.." followed by eg ..spent the money. That's sort of okay,

But I didn't've? I did not Not the same thing.

Not sure I'm making sense.

Dwerf Tue 25-Feb-14 13:15:12

I don't think it sounds right because it's a contraction of three words, so like fedupandfifty, I might say it, but I wouldn't write it.

prism Tue 25-Feb-14 13:23:38

The "wouldn't've" and "shouldn't've" examples are used with verbs, so "wouldn't've imagined" is in fact one verb (a past speculative conditional), whereas "didn't've" is the whole verb. So it sounds more reasonable to abbreviate four words- "would not have imagined"- to two; whereas abbreviating three short ones- "did not have"- to one, sounds overly short.


AchyFox Tue 25-Feb-14 14:39:28

Interesting Prism

Is it to do with whether it's a noun or verb clause ?

It sounds Ok in a verb clause but not a noun clause.


I would not have time.

I would'nt've time.confused

prism Tue 25-Feb-14 15:20:20

Yes. Personally I think that "I wouldn't've time" sounds silly, but "I wouldn't've had time" doesn't. I reckon that when we hear one of these conditional abbreviations, we're expecting to hear a verb next, and as "didn't've" can't be followed by a verb, it's never going to sound right.

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