1. How is it to live in England?
  2. How is it living in England?


  1. How is to live in England?
  2. How is living in England?

To my non native ear, the first and the second statements are right, the other ones are wrong. Am I right? what grammar rule should I apply?

  • More native like, is: What's it like living in England. What's it like to live in England.
    – Lambie
    Oct 10 '17 at 20:29
  • You do not use how to ask for a description of a thing or place. For example, if you say How is Birmingham?, you are not asking someone what kind of place Birmingham is; you are asking them if they are enjoying living or working there. If you want them to give you a description of Birmingham, you say What is Birmingham like? ▲ What is Fiji like? You do not say How do you think of Birmingham? You say What do you think of Birmingham? ▲ What do you think of the photo on the front of The Student? ▲ What did you think of Holland? Oct 10 '17 at 20:36
  • @Mvlog How's the weather where you are? It's hot and dry and mostly on fire out here in California right now.
    – Andrew
    Oct 10 '17 at 21:07
  • @MvLog - I agree with Andrew. I see nothing unusual in asking "How's New York?"
    – stangdon
    Oct 10 '17 at 22:00
  • @Andrew It's been answered in my comment in the example about Burmingham. Oct 10 '17 at 22:35

As others have pointed out in the comments, if your intention is to ask for a description of England and daily life there, then you would instead ask:

What is it like living in England?

Your question is fine if instead you want to know how someone is doing while they are living in England. For example, suppose my friend is staying in London for the summer, and I text her to see how she's doing:

Me: How is it living in England?
She: It's tough. I can't understand half the accents. You'd almost think they weren't speaking English at all.

"How is living in England" is also fine, and means much the same thing as "How is it living in England". The "it" here is the "existential dummy pronoun", which has no real meaning of its own.

Your first sentence is not as idiomatic, although it seems OK with a comma:

How is it, to live in England?

Your sentence #3 is not correct.

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