“Fail. ‘He failed to note the hour.’ That implies that he tried to note it, but did not succeed. Failure always carries the same sense of endeavor; when there has been no endeavor, that is no failure. A falling stone cannot fail to strike you, for it does not try; but a marksman firing at your may fail to hit you; and I always hope he always will.”
Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.