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"He failed at/on life."

Should it be "at" or "on"?
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Hi,

'At', not 'on'.
Or you could say 'in'.

Clive
So, for:

"He failed at/on the exam."

"at" is also more preferable over "on"?
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Hi,

No. Here, the most standard phrase is 'He failed the exam'.

You could also say 'He failed life', but that sounds less good because an exam is obviously a direct test and life is less obviously a direct test.

Clive
If you fail at something, it means you're not good at (doing) something and it's not your forte:

He fails at math. (maybe he should take private lessons)

But if you fail something, like a test or school subject, you don't pass it:

He failed math. (he didn't pass the subject)
"He failed at love."
"He failed on love."

"He failed at the project."
"He failed on the project."

"He did poorly at the project."
"He did poorly on the project."

"He made money at the deal."
"He made money on the deal."

So, "at" is the preposition of choice when talking about how one did in some activity?
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Hi,

"He failed at love." at or in
"He failed on love."

"He failed at the project."
"He failed on the project." OK. Or maybe 'in'

"He did poorly at the project."
"He did poorly on the project." OK

"He made money at the deal."
"He made money on the deal." on or in

So, "at" is the preposition of choice when talking about how one did in some activity? Much depends on the context. Prepositions are very idiomatic. It's not easy to make simple rules.

Clive
Assuming this is correct:

"He failed at world peace."

how about this:

"He failed at/on the world-peace project."

?
Hi,

ssuming this is correct:

"He failed at world peace."

how about this:

"He failed at/on the world-peace project."

These both seem like very unusual things to try to say.
What was he, the head of the United Nations?

Do you mean that he failed, or that the whole project failed?

I'd probably say it some other way,
eg He failed in his role with the world peace project.

Clive
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