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Firstly, I apologize for posting the same sentence yet again:

You must attend this meeting, failing which you will be disqualified.

I heard from someone (I don't know his/her english-grammar background) that 'failing which' is an idiom, and this is why this relative clause structure is unfamiliar to me. I hope this is the answer, but I have a feeling it may not be, seeing as I couldn't find this idiomatic expression through google.

Anyway, I'll approach this question differently this time, using sentence examples instead.

I assume the blue sentence above is synonymous with this:

  1. You must attend this meeting. If you fail (to attend this meeting) you will be disqualified.
If my paraphrase is identicle in meaning, then can we assume there is ellipsis in the original and/or the following are equally grammatical?

  • I met my brother's girlfriend, killing whom I would go to prison (if I kill whom I would go...)

  • I have to sing in front of the whole school, doing which I'll be embarrassed.
What about these?

  • I have to sing in front of the whole school, doing which will be embarrassing.

  • You must attend this meeting, failing which will mean you will be disqualified.
Thank you
Comments  
English 1b3
You must attend this meeting, failing which you will be disqualified.

I heard from someone (I don't know his/her english-grammar background) that 'failing which' is an idiom, and this is why this relative clause structure is unfamiliar to me. I hope this is the answer, but I have a feeling it may not be, seeing as I couldn't find this idiomatic expression through google.

I think we've been here before with the "what is and isn't an idiom" question, but certainly it is a familiar set expression.
English 1b3
I assume the blue sentence above is synonymous with this:

  1. You must attend this meeting. If you fail (to attend this meeting) you will be disqualified.
Correct.
English 1b3
  • I met my brother's girlfriend, killing whom I would go to prison (if I kill whom I would go...)
  • I have to sing in front of the whole school, doing which I'll be embarrassed.

    • I have to sing in front of the whole school, doing which will be embarrassing.
    • You must attend this meeting, failing which will mean you will be disqualified.

    • These are all incorrect.
Mr WordyThese are all incorrect.

Hi, can you tell me why these are incorrect but the original isn't?

Thanks
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English 1b3Hi, can you tell me why these are incorrect but the original isn't?
"You must sit this exam, failing which you will be dismissed." does not mean you will be dismissed if you fail the exam, it means you will be dismissed if you don't sit it. Thus, "which" does not refer to "exam", it refers to the whole phrase "You must sit this exam." This explains the difference with "I met my brother's girlfriend, killing whom I would go to prison" where "whom" would have to refer to "my brother's girlfriend" (as opposed to "I met my brother's girlfriend").

"I have to sing in front of the whole school, doing which I'll be embarrassed." seems to have the same structure as the original, but feels wrong. As far as I can see, this simply shows that you can't reuse the "failing which" set expression with arbitrary verbs.

"You must attend this meeting, failing which will mean you will be disqualified." is a misuse of the set expression -- so once again we come back to "it's a set form of words, and you can't mess around with it".
Mr Wordythis simply shows that you can't reuse the "failing which" set expression with arbitrary verbs.

Hi, Mr Wordy,

I just found the answer to my problem concerning the topic sentence. 'failing' isn't a verb (verbal) here. It is a preposition, meaning 'in the absence of.'

You must attend this meeting, in the absence of which you will be disqualified.

And as far as your analysis for my other sentence goes, I agree. 'whom' doesn't refer to the entire clause; that'll be why that one is incorrect!
English 1b3I just found the answer to my problem concerning the topic sentence. 'failing' isn't a verb (verbal) here. It is a preposition, meaning 'in the absence of.'
Right. (By now I should know better than to attempt to answer any of your questions!)
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Mr WordyBy now I should know better than to attempt to answer any of your questions!)

I disagree. Your posts are of value to me, whether you know it or not. Emotion: smile