[Ads-l] _try to_ vs. _try and_

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Nov 8 14:19:23 UTC 2016

> On Nov 8, 2016, at 5:18 AM, Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM> wrote:
> ...  Unfortunately, neither M-W, Burchfield, nor Arnold in his comments below clarify
> the question as to whether, as well as the obvious register-difference between
> the two phrasings, "try and" and "try to", there is *also* a semantic
> distinction.

> ...  I use both, but I'm not certain as to whether the choice
> between them on my part is based on only socially contextual considerations, or
> whether there's a semantic nuance involved on occasion.

i had hoped to jhave said this clearly: there is no difference in truth-functional semantics, but there certainly is a difference in nuance (classifiable as implicature or connotation), having to do with closeness vs. looseness of association between trying and Ving.  (this nuance will often not be obvious or will be unimportant in context; that's the way of nuances).

think of it this way: _try to_ V tends to treat trying and Ving as part of a single act, while _try and_ V allows them to be seen as two separate but crucially related acts, with Ving as the intended consequence of trying.


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list