Is "How was it being able to turn the match around" grammatically correct? Heard an interviewer ask this question to one of the winners after an online tournament. Or is this a casual form of "to have been able to"?

closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, user140086, NVZ, Roaring Fish, Dan Bron Mar 17 '16 at 18:24

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified." – curiousdannii, Community, NVZ, Roaring Fish, Dan Bron
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


L., more felicitous punctuation might have made the syntax clearer for you. For example:

  1. How was it, being able to turn the match around?
  2. How was it—being able to turn the match around?

As you see, it and being able are the same thing, so being able is an appositive noun phrase that describes, clarifies, or renames the preceding noun phrase — here, a pronoun. If you strip out the first element and leave the second, you get:

  1. How was being able to turn the match around?

Which is just asking:

  1. What was it like, being able to turn the match around?
  2. What was being able to turn the match around like for you?

Compare these similar constructions:

  1. How was she, your son’s new bride?
  2. How was she, dressing in florescent yellow like that?
  3. How was she, all dressed up in canary-yellow for her wedding?

  4. How were they, those sun-dried tomatoes?
  5. How were they, dried in the sun all day like that?
  6. How were they, drying out in the blazing sun and all? Terrible thing to do a juicy tomato, don’t you know. Mom never liked ’em, always said raisins makes poor substitutes for grapes and flicked up right off her salad like unwanted fly carcasses. Thanks but no thanks.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.