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In the book, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," there is the below sentence.

*I asked her how had she been able to go out dancing.

What I want to ask is about the position of "had."

Shouldn't "had" be placed after "she"?

Like this sentence: *I asked her how she had been able to go out dancing.

[I know there's an exectional rule in indirect speech.
Following is from "Practical English Grammer" by Michael Swan.

2 indirect speech: word order with what, who and which
When we report questions constructed with who/what/ which +be+complement, be can be put before or after the complement.

- Direct: Who's the best player here?
- Indirect: She asked me who was the best player.
She asked me who the best player was.
- Direct: What's the matter?
- Indirect: I asked what was the matter.
I asked what the matter was.
- Direct: Which is my seat?
- Indirect: She wondered which was her seat.
She wondered which her seat was.

But I don't think the questioned sentence is applied to this rule.
Thanks for reading.
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The original is possible, but less much frequent than your version, which is to be preferred:

Google hits
2,150 for "how had she been able"
1,750,000 for "how she had been able"
(of course many of them occur in real, not reported, questions)

Same at BNC
http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk /
where the
how had she been
isn't really found, while you have several tens for
how she had been
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Stenka25I asked her how had she been able to go out dancing.

This word order in reported speech (verb–subject) is also quite frequent in spoken BrE, especially where the reported speech includes qualifications of the subject, e.g.

1. I asked her how had she, who had always done X, Y, Z, etc., been able to go out dancing.

Or where there is an emphasis on the subject:

2. I asked her how had she been able to go out dancing, when she never stopped telling me how little money she had.

In those cases, it's in effect a direct–indirect hybrid, i.e.

3. I asked her, "How had she been able to go out dancing, when she never stopped telling me how little money she had?".

MrP
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Comments  
You are correct for careful writing, but in fact native speakers do with some frequency place the indirect question in direct-question order in casual conversation.
Thanks.

I really appreciate it.
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MrPedanticThis word order in reported speech (verb–subject) is also quite frequent in spoken BrE, especially where the reported speech includes qualifications of the subject, e.g.
1. I asked her how had she, who had always done X, Y, Z, etc., been able to go out dancing.
Great obs, MrPEmotion: smile

Perhaps in order to cause proximity.