The Grammarphobia Blog

A “trying” time

Q: I often hear people say “to try and…” instead of “to try to…”, as in “I will try and go to the store today,” instead of “I will try to go to the store today.” This sounds to me as if they will do two things: they will try today, AND they will go to the store today. Is this really a grammatical error, or am I being too picky? In other words, should I try and get a life?

A: “Try to” is correct in formal English, but “try and” is gaining acceptance in spoken and informal usage. As I noted in my book Woe Is I, the “try and” form seems appropriate if there’s a note of belligerence or defiance involved (as in “Just try and make me!” or “Try and stay in your own lane, #@$%!”).

Are you too picky? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a grammatical error per se; it’s more an example of slang or colloquialism. According to one reference I checked, “try and” is accepted as a standard idiom in British English.