Can we use “Had that” to mean “would that”?

Recently, I came across a sentence starting with Would that. By searching over ELL stackexchange I found here that would that is an obsolete way of saying if this was true. Now what came to my mind is that we sometimes start a sentence with had to mean the same thing, e.g.

Had I been a millionaire.

My question is can we use the following types of constructions:

  1. Had that I were a millionaire.
  2. Had it been that I were a millionaire

Does both of them convey the same meaning?


No. Start by removing the inversion: “Had I been a millionaire” becomes “(If) I had been a millionaire”. “Had that I were a millionaire” would become something like “(If) I had were a millionaire”, which doesn’t make any good sense. For a conditional phrase beginning with “had”, you need to start with a good phrase in the past perfect, and then move the “had” out front. More examples:

“If I had gone to school” => “Had I gone to school,”

“If I had thought it was a good idea” => “Had I thought it was a good idea,”

But “had been” is probably the most common verb to use with this construct.

Source : Link , Question Author : user31782 , Answer Author : hobbs

Leave a Comment