[Ads-l] _try to_ vs. _try and_

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Dec 16 12:40:30 EST 2017


I think I say "try to", but maybe I only try to say "try to".

I believe that the distinction is between optimistic speakers and realistic
speakers.  The "try and" speakers are thinking "I will try and I will
succeed"; the "try to" speakers are aware that they may "try to", but they
may fail.

GAT

On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 11:34 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> Margaret Lee wrote:
> >  Yes, I was taught to use 'try to' rather than 'try and'.   The old
> 'proper English' mandate,
> > but what exactly is 'proper English'?  Who decides what is 'proper'?
>  Are any of you
> > familiar with the Max Weinreich quote:  "A language is a dialect with an
> army an
> > a navy" ?
>
> The quotation linked to Max Weinreich was mentioned in this mailing
> list back in 2014 by Neal Whitman who saw it mentioned in the Boston
> Glob:
>
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2014-March/131635.html
>
> Alice Faber and Ben Zimmer commented, and Ben pointed to a pertinent
> tweet by Amanda Katz:
>
> https://twitter.com/katzish/status/445650442509639680
>
> The tweet pointed to a note in the journal Language and Society:
>
> http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?
> fromPage=online&aid=4180952
>
> The journal printed an excerpt from a Yiddish mailing list which gives
> a citation. Apparently, Weinreich employed the saying but he credited
> a young man who came to his lectures. The note further states that
> Joshua Fishman believes he may have been the young man.
>
> Garson
>
>
>
> >     On ‎Saturday‎, ‎December‎ ‎16‎, ‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎04‎:‎23‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EST,
> Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> >
> >  I was somewhat intrigued to find, in Am.Sp., Vol.81, No.3, an article
> with
> > the following title:
> >
> > Why Does Canadian English use _try to_, But British English Use _try
> and_?
> >
> > Not having read the article, I have no answer to that question. However,
> I
> > *can* answer the question, "Why do _I_ use _try to_ and not _try and_?"
> >
> > The answer is simple. I was specifically *taught* not to use _try and_,
> > because the construction is semi-literate and déclassé, used only by the
> > ill-taught lower orders. The well-educated, better classes use only _try
> > to_, as one of many small ways in which their use of language
> demonstrates
> > their command of proper English.
> >
> > Didn't none of y'all get taught this class distinction, I reckon.
> >
> > --
> > -Wilson
> > -----
> > All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> > come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> > -Mark Twain
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)
http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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