"Hey! You want to try and see the meteor shower this weekend?"
Umm, no. But I'll try to see it. Or, maybe, I'll even try seeing it.
It's not that I'm a grammar nazi. Sure, I've literally never used the wrong its/it's/they're/their/there/who's/whose/etc. Sure, I definitely use "who" and "whom" correctly.
But I love ending sentences with prepositions. I love slang and neologisms. And! I, like, totally have no problem with people using "literally" to mean "figuratively" (though that's not how I used it just now -- I literally literally never make pronoun mistakes).
It's just... I have a Classical Diploma. I studied Latin and Greek. I also studied psychology and psycholinguistics. That is to say, I know things.
I know that the word vagina literally translates to sheath, as in: a place for a man to stick his sword. That's kind of gross.
I know that "positive reinforcement" probably means the opposite of what you think it does.
And I know that it's not re-diculous. It's ridiculous. After all, do you redicule people with bad grammar?
You ridicule them.
Just like a little, tiny, silent part of me ridicules people who "try and" do something.
Because, look. You don't try and. You try to.
Or. perhaps you try doing something.
Because "try" takes either the infinitive ("to verb") or the gerund ("verbing" as a noun), depending on your meaning.
If you're trying to do something that is difficult or impossible, you try to do it.
Let's try to take Highgarden.
Let's try to stop the Night Walkers.
Let's try to cure greyscale.
If you're trying to do something that is... you know. Easy. Experimental. Worth trying. Then you try doing it. For example:
Let's try taking the Kingsroad.
Let's try praying to the Red God.
Let's try building a wheelchair.
The only time you would really try and something would be in a situation like this:
Let's try and see what happens.
Except, when you look at this sentence, you'll see that "and" still functions as a conjunction, and that "try" is actually taking an understood infinitive or gerund.
Let's try (praying to the Red God) and see what happens.
Let's try (to take Highgarden) and see what happens.
And, yes. Language changes and evolves rapidly over time. That's why I'm only the slightest bit judgey when people "try and" get it wrong. We've probably gotten to the point where most experts would accept "try and" as a correct usage.
But, personally, I don't like it. Doesn't it just sound better when you try doing it correctly?
I leave you with these delightful "Latin Student Problems" memes:
And, of course, this "If The Happy Talent Used Latin Sayings as Titles" list:
Vincit qui se vincit. (He conquers who conquers himself.)
Gladiator in arena consilium capit. (The gladiator is making his plans in the arena.)
Fabas indulcet fames. (Hunger sweetens the beans)
Aqua vitae. (Water of life.)
Non sibi. (Not for oneself.)
Vitanda est improba siren desidia. (One must avoid that wicked temptress, Laziness.)
Disiecti membra poetae. (Limbs of a dismembered poet.)
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. (If I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I will move hell.)
Vestis virum reddit. (The clothing makes the man.)
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? (Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?)
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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