Try To or Try And

Although the phrase try and is commonly used, it is illogical, and the correct phrase is try to. Try needs the infinitive after it. (Remember, the infinitive is the to form of a verb, as in to read, to work, to sing.)

I will try and stay awake until the end of the movie. This sounds as if I am going to do two unrelated things that are connected in the sentence by the conjunction and. First, I will try, but what will I try? I don’t specifically say. Second, I will stay awake until the end of the movie. This, of course, is not the intended meaning of the sentence.

I will try to stay awake until the end of the movie. This construction makes the meaning of the sentence clear: Staying awake until the end of the movie is my goal.

It also helps to remember that you wouldn’t use try and for the past tense, as in I tried and stay awake. This doesn’t make sense. You would, instead, say I tried to stay awake.

Sherry’s Grammar List

 

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