A friend of mine from USA posted this:

"So much fun was had tonight with this fantastic group!"

I am not a native speaker so, I do not understand "was had tonight". I have never heard this expression before. What is this in terms of grammar?

  • It is a time-honored custom in the US, after a party or some fun event, for a person to report on it afterwards, in a small town newspaper, for example, or in a company newsletter, using a passive construction similar to "A good time was had by all". books.google.com/…
    – TimR
    May 17, 2015 at 10:45
  • google.com/…
    – TimR
    May 17, 2015 at 10:51

3 Answers 3


Have fun is an expression meaning something like "enjoy oneself".

We had so much fun tonight!

This sentence means something like "We enjoyed ourselves very much tonight".

Now let's turn our active clause into a passive clause:

So much fun was had by us tonight!

Now that our example is in the passive, we can remove the by-phrase:

So much fun was had tonight!

This sentence means something very similar to our first example, except that it no longer specifies who had fun. It could be "by us" or "by all", for example.

So much fun was had tonight with this fantastic group!

This makes it sound like lots of people enjoyed themselves very much, quite possibly everyone involved.


This is a passive sentence. The true subject of the idea being expressed is treated as an object. Sometimes this is done when it is difficult to define exactly who the subject is. Other times it is just awkward and extra-wordy.

This sentence could be re-written: We had so much fun with this fantastic group or They had so much fun with this fantastic group.


I believe the sentence is not grammatically correct.

To me this is wordplay. In a novel (or formal accounting of some episode) one might say "Much food was consumed that night."

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    The sentence is neither ungrammatical nor an instance of wordplay; there is nothing inherently humorous in the way that words are being used here. As MJ6 points out in their answer, it is merely a sentence where the action is described in the passive voice: "We have had so much fun..." is thus transformed into "So much fun was had....".
    – Erik Kowal
    May 16, 2015 at 17:29

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