Try And…  vs  Try To…

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hese two phrases — one less-commonly used but correct, and the other more-commonly use and NOT correct — are a perfect example of how humans are more likely to follow what other people do and say — simply because “that is what everyone does & says”…  Rather than changing their own habits when finding out that their previous habit has been wrong.  For an un-educated person — it is more un-comfortable to realize & admit their mistake, and then change — than to proceed in their own wrong-doing.

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

An Explanation

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hese two phrases (followed by some verb) are SO common, that most people think that “you can say either”, and there is nothing wrong.  In fact — most people use them both, and do not even realize it.  This is largely because — in British-English (and in “Spoken English” — British or American) — it is much more common to say:  “Try and…”…  Which is wrong.

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ow, don’t get me wrong.  This is not a “British vs American” thing here.  As I mentioned above — there are plenty of people all over the world who say it BOTH ways…  And ALL of them are wrong! (At least when they say “Try and…”.)  😆

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

– vs. –

“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 to me!  I hear people say it both ways all the time!”

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asically, the difference is…  “Try to…” is Grammatically Correct.  Where-as — “Try and…” — regardless of how common it is, or how “natural” it sounds — is Grammatically WRONG!  Now, before you get upset — allow me to explain WHY it is wrong.  😎

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his is because — in both phrases — the main verb is, “Try”.  Then it is followed by the Verb “Explain”.  So when we say “Try and…” — then, grammatically, there are two actions happening in the sentence:  “Trying” & “Explaining”.  But this is not what is intended in this expression.  What is intended is to say that one is endeavoring to “Explain” — but that they are not sure if they will be successful.  However — they will “Try To Be” successful at explaining it!

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ut in the combination of:  “Try to…” — then “to” is NOT part of unique some “phrase”.  It is the particle of the “Infinitive + ‘to’ structure for the verb “Explain”.  So you see — there is no “Try to” phrase.  There is the verb “Try” — plus the Infinitive form of the verb “Explain” — plus the particle “to” (“…to Explain…”) which describes WHAT is being or going to be “Tried”.

“Try To + Explain”

 

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“Try + To Explain”

 

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Some Examples

If One Were To Say…

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

…then that would mean that there are two things happening:

First“I’m going to try…” (to explain)

And Then“I’m going to explain…”

Wait.  What?!?!?!  How Does That Work?

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The Problem With This Is — First Of All…

TRYING IS NOT DOING!!!

(And in this situation — “trying” is only ATTEMPTING to do something.  While “Explaining” is ACTUALLY doing something…  Therefore — it makes no logical sense.)

But More Importantly…

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f there were, indeed, two actions happening here — then the first clause (with, “try” as the main verb) would not be a complete sentence.  Because if “Explaining” is the second action, then there is nothing to say what is being “tried”.  So if we separate the actions (“trying” & “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 make sense.”

2.  If the person is confident that he or she will be able to explain it — then the use of “try” is either redundant — or it is a second action which is missing either a gerund, an infinitive verb + “to”, or a noun / noun phrase which represents some new experience or “thing” that one is going to “try”.

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

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“I’m going to try to jump this gap on my bike.” — (Infinitive + “to”)

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“I’d like to try some of that delicious looking cake over there.” — (Noun Phrase)

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“I think I’ll try some milk.” — (Noun)

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“And then…  After all of that…  I’m going to explain this to you so that it makes sense.”

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o now you can see that the only way that makes logical AND grammatical sense — AND the only way that is actually grammatically correct (even if otherwise intelligent people say differently) is to say…

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

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And that’s all there is to it…  You’re Welcome.

😎

But On A More Philosophical (yet simpler) Note…

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hen referring to actions rather than trying some “thing” (usually food or drink) — it is not possible to both “Try” something AND “Do” the same thing.  If a person “Tries” to do something — and is successful…  then he or she “Did” it!

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oth situations — “Trying” & “Doing” — can NOT exist in the same time.  At least not in this dimension.  If you want to talk “Quantum Physics” — it may be possible.  But that is not relevant to English Grammar…  Even Enlightened English Grammar.  😎

Remember What Master Yoda Said To Luke In The Swamp…

“There Is No And…  Only To

~ “The Teacher”

May The Force — (and the comprehension of proper English Grammar) — Be With You…  Always

Have An Excellent Day!

😉

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