“Try And…” vs “Try To…”



"Try And..." vs "Try To..." GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

Don’t worry… It will be after I’m done with it. 😉


An Explanation


These two phrases (followed by some verb) are VERY often mistaken.  This is largely because — in British-English (and in “Spoken English”) — it is much more common to say, “Try and…”.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t a “British vs American” thing here.  There are plenty of people all over the world who say it either, or BOTH ways.

“I’m going to try and explain this to you so that it makes sense.”


“I’m going to try to explain this to you so that it makes sense.”


“Okay, so what’s the problem?  Both of those sound good.  I hear people say it both ways all the time.”


Basically, the difference is…  To express something in the way which both of these phrases are most often used — the phrase, “Try and…” is grammatically incorrect.

This is because — when this phrase is used in a sentence — the main verb is, “Try”.  But then there is also a verb following the word “And”.  So, then, there are two separate actions happening:  “Trying” & whatever else the other verb is.  🙄 

If One Were To Say…

“I’m going to try and explain this to you so that you can understand.”

…then this means that there are two things happening here:

  • “I’m going to try” (to explain) — and then…
  • “I’m going to explain“…  Wait, huh?!?  How does that work?

"Try And..." vs "Try To..." GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

The Problem With This Is — First Of All…


Trying Is NOT Doing!


But More Importantly…

If there are, indeed, two actions happening here, then the first clause (with, “try” as the main verb) is incomplete.  So if we separate the actions (“trying” and “explaining”), then one of yet two MORE things is happening:

1.  If the person is not confident that he or she will actually be ABLE to explain whatever he or she is trying to explain — then the sentence should say:

“I’m going to try to explain this to you, and hopefully it will be clear.”

2.  If the person is confident that he or she will be able to explain it, then “try” is either redundant, or it is a second action which is missing either a gerund, an infinitive, or a noun/noun phrase which represents the new experience that one is going to “try”But really…  that just doesn’t make sense.

Jump Out Of A Plane - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

“I’m going to try jumping out of this plane…” – (Gerund)

Baby Punch - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

“I’m going to try to NOT punch you in the face…”(Infinitive)

Eating Cake - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

“I’m going to try that delicious looking cake over there…”(Noun Phrase)

Talking Egg - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

“…and then I’m going to explain this to you.”

So the only way that is grammatically correct (despite the fact that very well-educated people may say otherwise) is to say…

“I’m going to try to explain this to you.”

There You Go - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

There You Go - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!
And that’s all there is to it… You’re welcome.

And On A More Philosophical Point…

It is not possible to both “TRY” something and “DO” something.  If a person “Tries” something, and is successful, then that person actually “Did” it.

Both situations (despite what Schrodinger and his cat may say) can NOT exist at the same time.  At least not in this dimension.  Not yet, anyway…  (Talk to Cern about that.  They’re probably working on a way to make that happen.)

Remember What Master Yoda Said To Luke In The Swamp…

“There Is No ‘And’…  Only ‘To'”


~ “The Teacher

The Teacher Icon & Avatar

May The Force
(and the comprehension of the proper use of grammar)
Be With You




There is another way to comprehend “Try To…” that I didn’t previously make clear when originally writing the blog post above.  And That is that “Try to…” is not the phrase — and it is wrong to think of it in that way.

The word “Try” is the main verb of the sentence.  The particle “To” is actually part of the Infinitive Form of the verb that follows.  Therefore, it is functioning as the subject of the sentence, rather than as a verb.  💡 


Try to comprehend what I am saying.”

Try [main verb] to comprehend [infinitive + “to”, functioning as the subject of the sentence] what I am saying [object of the sentence]

(And that’s Why “Try and…” Is Wrong)

Have An Excellent Day!


Do You Want To “Achieve Excellence On The TOEFL iBT Exam”?  Sign Up Below!!!


You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    If you substitute the word “attempt” for “try,” it will be clear which usage is correct. For example, no one says “I am going to attempt and explain this to you.”

  2. Cathy says:

    I’ve always thought we used “to try and” because it simply sounds better than “to try to.”

    • Hello Cathy,

      Thanks for the message.

      It is definitely true that in the spoken form, most people do say “…try and…” (more like “…try’n…”) – However, whether this sounds “better” or not is subjective – and there are no “rules” about saying things just because they sound better. That is just a product of common usage, but the majority of people doing something wrong, does not make it “correct” (no matter what the dictionary “says”).

      The point of the article was to show that, even though “…try and…” is very common, it is grammatically wrong. And though it has become acceptable to use “…try’n…” when speaking (most people wouldn’t even notice it) – it should not be used in the written form (unless it is quoted dialogue). This is what many people (myself included) would call “poor form”.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have An Excellent Day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Pin It on Pinterest


Share This

Share this post with your friends!