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I know the phrase "doomed to failure" exists. I also found someone here who suggests that both, "doomed to failure" and "doomed to fail" can be used for a specific situation:

"I'm doomed to failure" expresses a final state of outcome.

"I'm doomed to fail" expresses an inevitable action.

Questions:

  1. Would someone (a native speaker?) actually use "doomed to fail" instead of "doomed to failure"?
  2. How can this be applied to other verbs (even if it doesn't make a lot of sense in the first place), e.g. "to live"/"life". Would it be "doomed to life" or "doomed to live"?
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  • We would more naturally say "It's doomed to failure" / "It's bound to fail".
    – BillJ
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 13:35
  • Re #1: ~247k results on Google Books alone: google.com/search?q=%22doomed+to+fail%22&tbm=bks Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 13:37
  • I also saw that "doomed to failure" is used more often, but I'm also especially interested in how this one common phrase can be applied to other verbs/nouns (real world situations: naming a metal song, getting a tattoo, i don't know...). What would you choose, given the "live"/"life" example above, and if it's the verb instead of the noun ("failure"), why so?
    – mxscho
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 13:46

2 Answers 2

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  1. Would someone (a native speaker?) actually use "doomed to fail" instead of "doomed to failure"?

Yes.

If the first effort failed, the following efforts were doomed to fail.
Jack London, Burning Daylight, Chapter VIII

as well as about 247,000 results on Google Books.


  1. How can this be applied to other verbs

Here's an example sentence from American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language:

"With the benefit of hindsight, the fans felt that they knew all along that the Red Sox were doomed to lose" (Daniel L. Schachter[sic]).

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  • 2
    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (Sounds better than "doomed to its repetition") Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 2:08
  • 'Tithonus was doomed to live forever' // 'doomed to forever roll a boulder uphill' // 'doomed to forever: make the same mistakes/be/be linked with/remain/depend/wander/...'. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:39
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William Shakespeare was indisputably (I hope) a native speaker of English.

Ghost: I am thy father's spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, --Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5

So to answer your questions

  1. Would someone (a native speaker?) actually use "doomed to fail" instead of "doomed to failure"?

Yes, I just gave you an example. And here's another one:
Doomed to Fail: The Incredibly Loud History of Doom, Sludge, and Post-Metal by American author J.J. Anselmi

  1. How can this be applied to other verbs (even if it doesn't make a lot of sense in the first place), e.g. "to live"/"life". Would it be "doomed to life" or "doomed to live"?

See example 1.

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