Thursday, 20 December 2007

Difference between "try and ..." and "try to ..."


I'm not a native English speaker. Watching American TV series, I often hear phrases like "I'll try and find him" where the verb try is followed by the conjunction "and" and another verb. Less often I also her "I'll try to find him" which is more natural to me. I guess that both are correct. But are there any differences ?


The only people who think there is a difference between them are pedants like me who believe that language and logic ought to walk hand-in-hand as much as possible. I see the "try and" structure as logically incorrect in most instances. For me, the only logical and aesthetically pleasing way of saying this is "I'll try to find him".

The "try and" structure is fine for an exchange like this one:

A: Please try to convince John to come to the party.

B: Okay, I'll try and let you know what he says.

Arguing the point is a lost cause. Native anglophones don't care, so they say whichever of the two they wish to say and insist that because they say it, it's "natural" (a meaningless descriptor because it is contradictory) and "acceptable" (another meaningless descriptor because it too is contradictory) and "idiomatic" (well, what isn't these days?) and even "Standard English" (English has no real standards, so this is merely the perpetuation of a myth).

from alt. usage. english

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