try and

try and
try and, try to
1. Try, like come and go, can be followed by and + verb instead of by a to-infinitive:

• Try and survive, try and live with the system —Gerald Seymour, 1983.

This use is somewhat more informal than the construction with to, and also has the effect of placing the weight of meaning less on try and more on the following verb (compare the balance of meaning in Try to survive…). It is most common in the present and future tenses, and especially in the imperative (giving an order or instruction), and there are occasions when and is the more likely or natural choice: (1) when try is already preceded by to

• (Jack didn't stop to try and work it out —A. Masters, 1991)

(2) in casual or formulaic commands and invitations

• (Turn yer light out and try and get some sleep —Hammond Innes, 1991

• Seoul promised yesterday that it would continue to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis and that it would be holding talks with both Russia and China to try and find a means of resolving the dispute —Scotland on Sunday, 2002)

and (3) in expressions of challenge or defiance

• (Just you try and stop me —Julian Barnes, 1992).

But these are tendencies only, and many contrary examples can be found:

• That girl was going to try to put the blame on her, she could tell —S. Shepherd, 1988

• They had to try to find out for themselves what went on inside the secretive home —online essays, AmE 2005 [OEC].

2. When try is in the negative, to and and occur more interchangeably in the same types of construction (for example, in commands), but and is noticeably more informal:

• Don't try and change the subject! —M. Dibdin, 1989

• Don't try to deny it —S. Howard, 1993

• So Herbie didn't try and jump in the car before I could lift him —conversation recorded in British National Corpus, 1991

• They should not try to be fair to other countries —New Scientist, 1991.

3. The construction with and is not available after any other form of try, i.e. not after tries, tried, or trying (They tried to warn us / What were you trying to tell me? / What if she tries to ring you?

• I…paced around and tried to absorb all the details —Anita Brookner, 1986)

but it is available to tenses formed by auxiliary verbs + the simple form of try

• (So let's not try and be too funny, eh? —T. Lewis, 1992

• I could try and make my own films —film website, AmE 2003 [OEC]

• We might try and get back later today —weblog, BrE 2004 [OEC]).

A construction with to is also obligatory when try is followed by a negative proposition:

• Try not to hang things too close, too high, or too far apart —M. Gilliatt, 1992

[not ☒ Try and not hang things too close…].
4. conclusion.
From all this evidence we must conclude that choice between try to and try and is largely a matter of spontaneity, rhythm, and emphasis, especially in spoken forms. Generally speaking, try and is somewhat more casual in effect, and is especially idiomatic in speech, whereas there are often good reasons for preferring try to in more formal contexts. But usage is unstable, and is likely to remain so.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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