Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Try And" vs. "Try To"

Once again, my friend Marco D. DeSena, a former New York City Urban Fellow, appears on this blog with the following observation and question:

When people write and speak, they usually say, “I'll try and do this for you ...” Is the word and correct there, or should the word to be used? There are numerous instances where writers use try and do. It seems like it snuck into our vernacular, or mine, I should say, but to me something doesn’t fit. What’s your take on this? Can you try and give me an answer

Very funny.

Though Mr. DeSena was not sure of the answer, he had the right linguistic instinct here. I answered:

"Try and” has become an idiom, like “hurry up” for “hurry”; however, “try to” is proper.

So if you're e-mailing a buddy on a personal level, as Mr. DeSena did when he wrote to me, you should try and write as you like; however, in formal writing, try to write properly!

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