Standard input state after error condition

  c++, iostream

The following code snippet is taken from C++ Iostreams Handbook by Steve Teale. It suggests invoking cin in an endless loop so that the user is continuously prompted for the correct input, and only when the correct input is entered do we exit the loop.

This code snippet works correctly but I am confused by the if(cin){...} statement. I would have expected something like if(!{...}.

#include <limits.h>
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main()
  int n;
  // turn off whitespece skipping
  cout << "Enter a value for n, followed by [Enter]: " << flush;
  for(;;) {
    cin >> n;
    if(cin) { //cin is in good state; input was ok
      cin.ignore(INT_MAX, 'n');
                // flush away the unwanted
                // newline character

    // Poster's comment (not from the author)
    // In this section of the code cin has evaluated to false
    cin.clear(); // clear the error state
    cin.ignore(INT_MAX, 'n');
                 // get rid of garbage characters
    cout << "That was no good, try again: " << flush;

  return 0;

Q) How does cin evaluate to false (i.e. a zero or null value) in the event of a failure?

cin is an object, not a pointer that could be set to null. Furthermore, in the section of code where cin evaluates to false we can still invoke member functions like clear and ignore.

Source: Windows Questions C++