[info] “Try And…” vs “Try To…” [/info]
Don’t worry… It will be after I’m done with it. 😉These two phrases (followed by some verb) are VERY often mistaken. This is largely because in British 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.
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?
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 they 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”.
“I’m going to try jumping out of this plane…” – (Gerund)
“I’m going to try to NOT punch you in the face…” – (Infinitive)
“…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.”
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… yet… talk to Cern, they are probably working on this.
Remember what master Yoda said to Luke in the swamp…
May The Force
(and the comprehension of the proper use of grammar)
Be With You
Update!!![/info] There is another way to think about “Try To…” that I didn’t previously make clear when originally writing the blog post above. And That is that “Try to…” is not a 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.”[success]
(And that’s Why “Try and…” Is Wrong)
Have An Excellent Day!
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