About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.

Paul Dirac



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,911

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 12:17 PM Pacific


  10:42 AM

The legitimacy of try and in the sense of try to has been debated for a long time, but it's an established usage in informal English:

I'm going to try and be there at five o'clock.
Please try and understand my point of view.

(For a good summary, including OED cites, N-gram stats, corpus search results, and a blessing from Fowler, see the blog The Writing Resource.)

Objections to try and sometimes seem a little forced; for example, Grammar Girl posits an argument from logic: "If you use and, you are separating trying and calling. You're describing two things: trying and calling." She goes on to say that try-and versus try-to may be more of a pet peeve with her.

And yet. I ran across an interesting example today of try and where I had to read the sentence a number of times before I got it:
If you try and lose then it isn't your fault. But if you don't try and we lose, then it's all your fault.
This is from Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game.

The intent, as I eventually deduced, was "If you try and [you] lose ...". For my first several attempts to read the sentence, I kept parsing it as "If you try to lose ...", which didn't completely make sense. But first readings are stubborn. In other words, the intent is per Grammar Girl's logical parsing (two actions), but I was not reading it that way.

I think some punctuation here might have helped — a comma after try. Or an extra you inserted after try and.

Speaking of try and lose, here's The Most Interesting Man in the World on this topic:


[source: memegenerator]

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