Brainteasers and Puzzles

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

If you have figured out how to derive the meaning of a sentence containing nothing other than eight uses of the word “buffalo,” then roll up your sleeves and tackle this beauty:

“James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.”

No, the author does not stutter, nor did his computer keyboard malfunction. It’s an actual sentence. All that’s missing is the correct punctuation. Can you figure out what that should be?

It may help if you understand that the sentence discusses two students, James and John. Their teacher gave them the assignment to write about a man who once suffered from a cold.

John’s choice of words was to write, “The man had a cold.” James, on the other hand, wrote, “The man had had a cold.” The teacher preferred James’ version over John’s.

With that in mind, add the following punctuation and emphasis:

James, while John had had “had,” had had “had had“; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

A slightly different use of punctuation results in John’s answer being preferable over the one provided by James:

James, while John had had “had had,” had had “had“; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

Had enough had hads?

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