“During high school, I played junior hockey and still hold two league records: most time spent in the penalty box; and I was the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab somebody.”—Adam Sandler, in the antediluvian days when he was still funny
This week we explain the difference between try to and try and.
We don’t always live in an either/or world: sometimes you can have both. For instance, masters of the mystic arts have long claimed the power of bilocation, the ability to be in two places simultaneously. Quantum physics explains that electrons exist in many states at the same time. If you travel in the right circles, you might even hear the rumors about the shadowy man who can have his cake and eat it too.
Likewise, some reputable sources on grammar will tell you that you can use either try to or try and—that both phrases are correct. My friend, one way is correct-er than the other.
We have a simple reason why any writer should use try to instead of try and: verb inflection.
When you’re not inflecting the verb try, it’s OK to use either try to or try and. Consider the following examples:
However, once you inflect the verb try (as with “tries,” “trying,” or “tried”) and use the word and, you can end up creating grammatical oddities:
See? Each of these sentences would work if you changed the “and” into “to.” Because try and only works in certain grammatical situations, avoid potential problems and stick with try to.
Now pass the Flamin’ Hots.