Word usage: Try AND vs Try TO

This has been bugging me since I was a babbling lad. What’s correct:

(1) “I’m gunna try AND do something.”
This seems to imply success is preordained; thus the TRY part is superfluous. Why not just say “I’m gunna do something?”


(2) “I’m gunna try TO do something.”
This seems logically more correct, with each word contributing something essential to the meaning of the whole. But this is not what people say- in fact, almost no one says it this way.

Please try and help me figure this one out once and for all.


i believe this is a vulgar grammatical thing, simple substitution for euphony.

kind of live “I should of punched that guy!”


I don’t know your neighborhood, but the “to” construction is the usage I most commonly hear (and use).

The should of usage is more than likely should’ve.

It depends upon what you mean. Usually, it will be “try to,” but if you mean you will try and then do something else, “and” is correct. If someone asks you to stop smoking, you might say, “I’ll try and I’ll use a nicotone patch.”

[yoda]There is no try, do or do not[/yoda]

This one’s to Ringo–

Glad to hear that you hear the “try to” in your neck of the woods. I hardly ever do, and this includes during the countless hours I spend wiling away my life in idle converstation, watching TV, listening to the radio, and reading all sorts of literature from the sublime to the profane.

If there is any actual semantic difference between the two phrases (I’d say they’re semantically the same, except “try and” is more colloquial), my guess would be this:

try and is used to refer to a specific event or outcome
(I’m going to try and get to work early tomorrow)

try to is used to refer to more general advice or continuing attempts
(I’m going to try to get to work early from now on)

I got nothing to back this up, but do a search on Google for “try and” “try to” and see how people use both of them (many times in the same sentence). There could be a purely syntactic basis for using one and not the other, but I’m not willing to think that hard about it right now.

If you’re writing in a manner that is at all formal, use “try to.” There’s absolutely no reason it is intrinsically better than “try and” but a lot of native English speakers seem to derive an entire moral system based on arbitrary adherence to one side of these trivial grammatical distinctions. You don’t want to go there : )


Garner’s *Oxford Dictionary of Modern American Usage * (rapidly bceoming my new favorite book) lists “try and” as a casualism for “try to” – the latter is proper, the former used only in informal speech or writing.

However, he ends the entry by saying “try and” is “a standard idiom” in British English. Not sure why it doesn’t rate as such over here.

– Beruang

Funny, I would have said it was an Americanism and that one would not hear it in the UK or Australia. Now I’m going to have to keep my ears open for it.

“Try and” is common in Ireland, although we use “try to” also. I think it is a standard colloquial usage among English speakers, probably because it is esier to say.

The proper quote is: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Is very impolite, a Jedi master to misquote… :wink:

American Heritage Dictionary says this:

USAGE NOTE: The phrase try and is commonly used as a substitute for try to, as in Could you try and make less noise? A number of grammarians have labeled the construction incorrect. To be sure, associated with informal style, the usage strikes an inappropriately conversational note in formal writing. In the most recent survey 65 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the use in writing of the sentence Why don’t you try and see if you can work the problem out between yourselves?[/quote

Thanks for bringing up my dsylexia, rjung.:stuck_out_tongue: