[Ads-l] _try to_ vs. _try and_

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Mon Dec 18 11:37:00 EST 2017


DAD’s challenge made me curious, and I decided to check it out.  I did searches of the various terms on NewsBank, for news sources in England in 2017.  Admittedly, this won’t get me a quid, because I feel sure DAD meant uses in conversation, not uses in edited printed material, but it’s useful in seeing what the norms are thought to be.

For “try to” I found 93,118 examples, while “try and” gets 40,306.  Some of these are examples from sports (rugby?), where “try” is a noun, but I’m assuming those don’t throw the count off too much.  In edited material, at least, “try to” is preferred, although “try and” makes a strong showing.

For “different to” I found 10,886 examples, with 10,323 for “different from” and 944 for “different than.”  So “different to” and “different from” are used about equally in edited material, while “different than” is disfavored.


John Baker


From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of David Daniel
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2017 7:47 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: RES: _try to_ vs. _try and_

Challenge to Everybody: Hop in a plane, go to the UK and try to find someone
who says try to. I'll give you a quid if you can find one. They all say "try
and" over there, as well as "different to" (not from or than). (Limited time
offer)
DAD


Enviada em: segunda-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2017 09:11
Para: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Assunto: Re: _try to_ vs. _try and_

Poster: Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM<mailto:mlee303 at YAHOO.COM>>
Subject: Re: _try to_ vs. _try and_
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In terms of the quote, I regard a 'language' as what is supposed to be the=
perfect language model, incorporating=C2=A0 all of the 'proper English' ru=
les found in a typical English textbook.=C2=A0 Of course, most people don't=
reach that level of perfection and therefore break the rules in one way or=
another, therefore speaking a dialect.=C2=A0 Those who establish the 'rule=
s' of 'proper/perfect' English (i.e., those entities--political, social--po=
werful enough to mandate the rules=C2=A0 of 'correct' usage) are also those=
who are powerful enough to possess an army and a navy. Ironically, even th=
ose who establish the rules of proper English also break the rules (perhaps=
unintentionally, but nevertheless they do), so essentially everyone speaks=
a dialect, with the rules of 'proper English' patiently sitting in English=
textbooks as models of perfection that no one can reach. =C2=A0 =C2=A0

--Margaret Lee=C2=A0

On =E2=80=8ESunday=E2=80=8E, =E2=80=8EDecember=E2=80=8E =E2=80=8E17=E2=
=80=8E, =E2=80=8E2017=E2=80=8E =E2=80=8E07=E2=80=8E:=E2=80=8E22=E2=80=8E:=
=E2=80=8E39=E2=80=8E =E2=80=8EPM=E2=80=8E =E2=80=8EEST, James A. Landau <JJ=
JRLandau at netscape.com<mailto:JRLandau at netscape.com>> wrote: =20 =20 First, thank you to those who
responded to our request about "Bye Felicia"= .

On Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:39:31 Zone + 0000 Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM<mailto:mlee303 at YAHOO.COM>> w=
rote:

<quote>
Yes, I was taught to use 'try to' rather than 'try and'.=C2=A0 The old=20
'proper English' mandate, but what exactly is 'proper English'?=C2=A0 Who=
=20 decides what is 'proper'?=C2=A0 Are any of you familiar with the Max=20
Weinreich quote:=C2=A0 "A language is a dialect with an army an a navy" ?
<end quote>

The Weinreich quote is a handy rule of thumb, but it is, at a guess, 90% ac=
curate, e.g. I am still looking for the Gullah army and the Yiddish navy.

A better definition: the distinction between language and dialect is arbitr=
ary, but there is a (somewhat flaky) rule:
a dialect qualifies as a separate language IF it is the USUAL speech of a g=
roup which is widely considered to be distinct from the surrounding x-langu=
age-speaking population because the group is isolated socially, geographica=
lly, or by national borders.

Example:=C2=A0 the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe were isolated so=
cially and were well-known to Gentiles as a distinct people.=C2=A0 Speakers=
of Gullah are geographically isolated from those on the US mainland, black=
and white, who speak dialects of English.=C2=A0 (Am I correct that Gullah =
is considered a separate language, not a dialect of English?) Portugal is a=
separate nation from Spain and therefore their speech is considered a sepa=
rate language.

On the other hand, Cantonese is considered to be only a dialect of Chinese,=
as the Cantonese speakers, although perhaps geographically isolated, are c=
onsidered and consider themselves members of the Chinese people and have be=
en from time immemorial part of a Chinese nation.=C2=A0 Similarly Yorkshire=
, although not mutually intelligible with the speech of the rest of England=
, is a dialect because Yorkshire has long been considered part of England.

There are borderline (no pun intended) cases, e.g. Catalan, the speakers of=
which have been part of Spain since Spain became united with the marriage =
of Ferdinand (a Catalan) and Isabella (a Castilian).=C2=A0 However, they ha=
ve kept somewhat of a separate cultural identity, they are geographically i=
solated, and, who knows, they may soon acquire independence from Spain.

What about AAVE?=C2=A0 It is a dialect because, while African-Americans are=
a distinct social group, they are NOT geographically isolated and many Afr=
ican-Americans do not speak AAVE, so it does not qualify as "usual speech" =
the way Yiddish was the usual speech of Eastern European Jews (and then the=
re is Wilson Gray who posts on this list both in AAVE and in what I will NO=
T call "standard English" or "proper English").

^^^^^^^^^^
Now for another question, posed by both Margaret Lee and Wilson Gray:=C2=A0=
"what exactly is 'proper English'?=C2=A0 Who=20 decides what is 'proper'?"

I have an answer:=C2=A0 grammatically English has three major dialects, wha=
t I call "Patrician", "Plebian", and King James.=C2=A0 Patrician is the lit=
erary dialect.=C2=A0 Plebian is the widely-spoken very-resistant-to-change =
dialect characterized by such features as double negatives, negation by "ai=
n't", etc.=C2=A0 AAVE is simply a subset of Plebian with certain idiosyncra=
tic features of its own.=C2=A0=20

So who decides what is "proper"?=C2=A0=20

NOBODY!=C2=A0=20

Patrician, being the literary dialect, is used whenever the literary dialec=
t is expected.=C2=A0 People who customarily speak Plebian used Plebian as t=
heir everyday spoken dialect.=C2=A0 King James is used in religious context=
s (and related contexts, e.g. a sign in front of a church "Thou shalt not w=
alk on the grass").

Therefore (in the United States at least) there is "no sich animal" as Stan=
dard English, which implies there is also no such thing as "sub-standard En=
glish", merely English which differs in greater or lesser degree from the l=
iterary dialect..

Have I answered your question, Dr. Lee?

Now for "try to" vs. "try and".=C2=A0 Speakers of both Patrician and Plebia=
n use whichever they are used to.=C2=A0 "Try to" is prescriptivist, for onc=
e for a logical reason: "try and" violates the diction rules in both Patric=
ian and Plebian for use of the infinitive.

- Jim Landau

PS to Wilson Gray:=C2=A0 my grandson, almost two years old, is learning his=
colors.=C2=A0 He has the primary colors down pat but is having trouble dis=
tinguishing "black" and "brown".=C2=A0 He pointed to an African-American wo=
man who was wearing a black dress and said "Brown".=C2=A0 The woman laughed=
and said, "You just made my day".

_____________________________________________________________
Netscape.=C2=A0 Just the Net You Need.
=20

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