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For this sentence:

"The customer experiences that the connection has been failed by unknown factor."

the following sound unnatural to me – but is it still grammatically correct?

  • a. "The customer experiences that..."
  • b. "...has been failed by..."
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As regular contributors already know, proofreading questions are off-topic unless the cause of confusion is identified. In this case, had the question merely asked, "Is this grammatically correct?" I would have expected to see close votes. Instead, the O.P. rightly pinpointed the suspect phrases, and got two detailed answers in less than one hour. Vincent, nice job, and welcome to ELL. Other newcomers to the ELL community might want to make a mental note. –  J.R. May 2 at 8:15

2 Answers 2

As for the customer experiences that, that is fine. You could change experiences to notices or finds, but that is not necessary.

As for has been failed, that is a different thing.

Strictly speaking I assume it could be grammatically correct, but I highly doubt the meaning is the one you want to convey.

You could use fail in the passive form like this:

The test was failed by the student.

This is an unusual way of saying:

The student failed the test.

Now, did your "unknown factor" fail the connection? Was the "unknown factor" trying to achieve the connection? I doubt it.

Normally, a connection does not get failed, it fails. So simply use the active form:

The connection failed due to an unknown factor.
The connection failed because of an unknown factor.

Factor is a bit hazy in this context, by the way. I would suggest that if you do not know what caused the connection to fail, just say you do not know the reason:

The connection failed for an unknown reason.

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FWIW, I read "has been failed by" in the sense of "the student has been failed by the teacher". That is, "fail" meaning "to determine to have failed", definition 13. at dictionary.reference.com/browse/fail. The sentence still doesn't make sense, but it's another thing to consider before deciding that it doesn't :-) –  Steve Jessop May 2 at 12:22

The customer experiences that the connection has been failed by unknown factor.

Your right, the original sounds unnatural. I see three problems, and you've correctly identified two of them. I'll address them each individually.


The customer experiences that the connection has been failed by unknown factor.

I don't think experiences is a very fitting verb in this context. On a personal level, systems failures are something you observe, not experience. That said, this is a tricky one, because it is okay for a company to issue a statement saying:

We have experienced too many system failures over the past month.

because the speaker is talking from a corporate perspective, not a personal one. From a customer perspective, though, I'd say that customers can experience heartache, frustration, or disappointment, but not system failures, or lost connections. Instead, I would choose a verb such as notices or observes.


The customer experiences that the connection has been failed by unknown factor.

This is the wrong verb tense. When a system crashes, and we use the verb fail, we say that it has failed, not that it has been failed. Once again, though, this is tricky, because we can say:

The system has been down for over two hours!


The customer experiences that the connection has been failed by unknown factor.

I don't think by is the right preposition here. I think you are trying to say because of (or due to). If you want to stick with a preposition, use for instead of by.

Also, I think you need to put the word some in front of unknown factor, or else make it plural. When words such as reason or factor are in a prepositional phrase, we generally use some (or an indefinite article) when using the singular. For example, I might say either of these:

For some unknown reason, the connection was lost.
For unknown reasons, the connection was lost.

But I would not say:

For unknown reason, the connection was lost.


Put all of these changes together, and we get:

The customer experiences notices that the connection has been failed by because of some unknown factor.

Or, without the crossed-out words:

The customer notices the connection has failed because of some unknown factor.

As mentioned previously, the phase due to could be used in place of because of.


By the way, I agree with oerkelens; at the end of the sentence, I think reason or cause would be a better word than factor. My final edit would be:

The customer notices the connection has failed due to unknown causes.

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