It was a big hassle + Verbing?

RomanPinsEveryone

Senior Member
Spanish, Chinese
"It was a big hassle having to phone around and report my cards stolen."

Does it mean "It was a big hassle when I had to phone around and report my cards stolen."? And why does it use Verbing here?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'It' is a dummy pronoun, used as a subject instead of the long clause at the end. You could also say it with that as the subject:

    Having to phone around and report my cards stolen was a big hassle.

    The ing-form of the verb gives you, in effect, a noun to build the subject on.

    With the clause as subject, it is a long time before you get to the main verb 'was', so this might be harder to understand. This is why we often prefer to move it to the right instead, and add 'it'.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Can I say "It was a big hassle to have to phone around and report my cards stolen."? Thank you!
    The original sentence is a cleft version of:
    "Having to phone around and report my cards stolen was a big hassle "
    This new sentence is a cleft version of:
    "To have to phone around and report my cards stolen was a big hassle."
    The first of each pair has a "gerund phrase" as the subject, while the second has a "to-infinitive phrase" as the subject. I prefer the gerund phrase as a subject. It seems more "noun-like" and less formal to me though both are correct.
     

    RomanPinsEveryone

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Chinese
    The original sentence is a cleft version of:
    "Having to phone around and report my cards stolen was a big hassle "
    This new sentence is a cleft version of:
    "To have to phone around and report my cards stolen was a big hassle."
    The first of each pair has a "gerund phrase" as the subject, while the second has a "to-infinitive phrase" as the subject. I prefer the gerund phrase as a subject. It seems more "noun-like" and less formal to me though both are correct.
    What do you mean "The first of each pair"? I don't see if you told me "It was a big hassle to have to phone around and report my cards stolen." was legit or not.
     
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