At Least THIS Illiterate Practice Is Still Deprecated

The occurrence of “try and [verb]” as against the correct “try to [verb]” in print in general is still minimal. Unfortunately, the #gagamaggot misuse of “and” still seems to be very common in (typically) very poorly edited self-pub text and in social media, etc., all over the increasingly “mass man”-dominated1 Internet.

Social democracy sometimes sucks.

Do note that I have no objection to the use of “try and” when it is genuinely appropriate and adds meaning. For example,

“Two Judges Try and Fail to Shut Down Union Strike” in a headline is OK, though in a sentence in the body of a text it would be better-written as, “Two judges try–and fail–to shut down union strike,” or, slightly less clear, “Two judges try, and fail, to shut down union strike.”


“It’s better to try, and regret, than not to try, and regret.”

In neither of the cases above would “try to” convey the meaning intended, but cases like this are rare compared to misuses of “try and” where “try to” is appropriate. Sadly, the colloquial misuse of “try and” contributes to a poorer language rather than enhancing English.

1See Ortega.

3 Replies to “At Least THIS Illiterate Practice Is Still Deprecated”

  1. It’s amusing that Fowler (2015)–considered b y many to be THE arbiter of good grammar–says,

    “Though ‘try to do’ can always be substituted for ‘try and do,’ the latter has a shade of meaning that justifies its existence; in exhortations it implies encouragement–the effort will succeed–; in promises it implies assurance–the effort shall succeed. It is an idiom that should be not discountenanced, but used when it comes natural [sic].”

    *heh* Fowler failed to form the adverb, “naturally,” properly.

  2. It seems to me that languages tend to devolve in general. You and I bemoan the dumbing down of our language and education in general. I think it’s actually a pretty good indication that modern man has his self conception wrong.

    People tend to think that we’re evolving upward in intelligence simply because we have advanced technology. The truth seems to me to be the opposite. We’re devolving downward in intelligence and our use or rather misuse of language is the proof.

    It’s proof to me of the curse and pollution of God’s design rather than the “ascent of man.”

    1. While I agree, Perri, I think it’s more than just that. In the past, written English has tended to lag far behind spoken in perjoration, largely for technological and economic reasons. Nowadays, the hyper-democratization of society (with none of the few redeeming qualities, such as they be, of political democracy) via mass media and the Internet (an even more “weaponized” form of mass media) have allowed Ortega’s “mass-man” to determine culture in general, and dumb down (and even seriously damage in no few cases) English as part of that process. Gibran’s observation that, “In much of your talk, thought is half murdered” should probably be expanded when considering the Internet to, “In 99% of your words, thought is completely absent.”


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