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Tip 41: ‘Try to’ versus ‘Try and’

Dave Johnson of Southern Union Gas has a pet peeve that bugs us, too. And don’t assume that just because you’ve seen the misuse of this phrase in print, that it’s okay to be WRONG!

Here’s the dilemma-which is correct?

I will try and make a lot of money this year.
or
I will try to make a lot of money this year.

The ONLY correct way to write this statement is: I will try to make a lot of money this year.

If you say, “I will try and make a lot of money this year,” you are saying that you are going to do two things: (1) try and (2) make (a lot of money this year). Think of the word ‘and’ as a combiner of the two verbs, ‘try’ and ‘make.’

Here’s a suggestion for how to reason this out:

Use the word ‘attempt’ in place of the word ‘try.’

Would you say, “I will attempt and make a lot of money this year”?
No, you would say, “I will attempt to make a lot of money this year.”

Recap for the grammatically challenged:

Use try to and not try and when you are writing about attempting to do something.
And that’s how it is. Thanks, Dave. I feel better now.

(According to Alred’s Handbook of Technical Writing, “The phrase ‘try and’ is colloquial for ‘try to’. For technical writing, use try to.”)