Fail preposition, passive voice exercise

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New Member
Could you help me with this exercise:
When Michael and Fran Perceval’s home failed _____ at an auction, they were worried.
A. to sell
B. selling
C. to be selling
D. being sold
Which answer is correct and why? Why others are wrong?
Thanks for help.
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Welcome to the forum, afatariks!

    Please tell us which answer you think is correct, and why. We’ll be glad to help, once we understand your thinking.


    New Member
    Thanks for warm welcome

    I have always been taught to use a preposition "to" while "fail" is followed by a verb, but on the other hand, house can't literally sell itself, so I think, that I need to use the passive voice. So I am in two minds and don't know which answer choose, I find D as the most appropriate, but I am not sure and that's why I'm asking.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Okay. Your thinking is good. But in fact to sell is also used intransitively, in the sense of being bought:

    The shop stocked a new model of the toy, but it failed to sell.
    The painting sold for 2 million dollars.
    The house won’t sell at that high price.
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