Try And, Try And, Try And Try….

Here’s an editing tip that I bet many of you overlook or maybe don’t even realize you do.

“I’m going to try and go to the store.”

Let’s look at this… ‘and’ is a conjunction that ties two sections of a sentence or two phrases together. ‘And’ means inclusive – so when you use the word ‘and, you are meaning both the first phrase AND the second phrase (as compared to ‘or’, which means one or the other.

So when you use the phrase “try and do something” (fill in the ‘do something’ with any action), you are then saying you are taking two distinct actions.

Using the example above:

1) you are going to try.
2) you are going to the store.

What you mean is actually, “I’m going to try TO go to the store.”

This should be checked for you in your writing. Today alone I have seen the following phrases:

“I’m going to try and read a book.”

“I’m going to try and see what he says.”

“Why don’t you try and look for it?”

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples – the point is, in each of these examples, there really is only one action – the attempt (try) to do something, not the attempt AND doing something.

Now, there is a way ‘try and’ could work. For example, if my son was being stubborn and saying, “I can’t do it!”

I might respond with something like, “Why don’t you try, and if you can’t do it, then we’ll talk.”

But as you see, that comma makes a difference, and in this case, the ‘try and’ doesn’t mean an attempt to do something.

“I’m going to try and go to the store.”

This actually means you are going to try to make it to the store, but insinuates that you might not make it. If you are for sure going to go to the store, you’d just say, “I’m going to the store.”

So anyway, long, boring lesson short – it’s not TRY AND but rather TRY TO do something.

Check your own writing and see if you’ve made this very common editing mistake!

Love and stuff,