I thought relative clauses must be grammatical when the sentence is in its natural word-order.

EG (please ignore the rules about restrictiveness in my examples):

  • This is the house in which I live= I live in which (the house).

  • This is the house which my parents owned= My parents owned which (the house).

  • This is the house which was sold yesterday= Which (the house) was sold yesterday.
This sentence doesn't render a grammatical sentence, I think, when in its natural word order:

  • You must attend this meeting, failing which you will be disqualified= failing (to attend) you will be disqualified.
Please can you explain this relative clause structure?

Thank you.
1 2
I don't understand the second rendition of each of your first 3 sentences.
I'm not claiming they would be written as such. The sentences would be fine if the words in brackets were used instead of the pronoun 'which.' I just used which to show where it would be.
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I am going to the house, which I will not enjoy doing.
This is the house, which I cannot believe.

-- Do these offer the same problem to you?
Yes, I never really felt like my method of testing was really accurate. I was waiting for someone to prove this much.

Can you tell elighten me about this relative clause I'm having trouble with? I'm not really sure what to ask, but do you kind of understand why I don't understand it?
Though you said something about ignoring it, it looks to me as if it is a difference between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses, only the latter of which seems to be able to modify beyond the nearest preceding noun phrase.
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English 1b3I thought relative clauses must be grammatical when the sentence is in its natural word-order. EG (please ignore the rules about restrictiveness in my examples):

This is the house in which I live= I live in which (the house).

This is the house which my parents owned= My parents owned which (the house).

This is the house which was sold yesterday= Which (the house) was sold yesterday.

Basically that's true. In some straightforward relatives like those three examples, it's easy to simply put the clause in its basic word order and to replace the relative pronoun with its antecedent, so it all make sense. But there are others where it's not quite so easy, as you've found out with your last example:
English 1b3This sentence doesn't render a grammatical sentence, I think, when in its natural word order: You must attend this meeting, failing which you will be disqualified= failing (to attend) you will be disqualified. Please can you explain this relative clause structure?
Here, the antecedent of 'which' is not just a simple noun like 'house', but the entire preceding clause "You must attend this meeting". When the antecedent is a clause, the interpretation is not so straightforward because we may have to extract part of the meaning of the clause. So it's not "Failing you must attend this meeting", but "Failing you attend this meeting" - i.e. "If you don't attend this meeting". So you could think of the clause as "If you don't attend this meeting you will be disqualified".

BillJ

Hi,

Couldn't we say failing is a preposition here, meaning 'in the absence of'?

This would mean the sentence makes more sense to me.
English 1b3Hi, Couldn't we say failing is a preposition here, meaning 'in the absence of'? This would mean the sentence makes more sense to me.
But it is a preposition! - what else did you think it was? I rather assumed you knew that when I posted my reply. Quite often a relative construction of the wh type contains a 'relative phrase' - typically a prepositional phrase such as 'failing which', 'from which', 'to which', 'in which' etc.

BillJ
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