try and?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 18 02:23:25 UTC 2003

At 3:01 PM -0700 4/17/03, Peter Richardson wrote:
>There must be something in the archives about "try and" as well: "I'll try
>and get to it in the morning." Does anyone know how old the apparent
>substitution of _and_ for _to_ is in this case? Possibly analogous is
>"I'll look and see" = "I'll [take a] look in order to see." Note that we
>can't say "I'll try and [do it]," but that "I'll try to [do it]" is just
>fine: *I'll try and / I'll try to.

Another early case of complementizer "and" is the "go and"
construction (cf. Donne on "Go and catch a falling star").  This is a
little freer in its distribution, occuring with past inflection:

He used to {try to/try and} leap tall buildings at a single bound.
He {tried to/*tried and} leapt tall buildings at a single bound.

but ok:
He went and leapt tall buildings at a single bound
He went and ate all my cookies (=/= He went to eat all my cookies)

Also, in non-inflected environments, the "and" can be suppressed:

Go catch a falling star.
Go (and) eat your own cookies.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list