Our own Laura Josephsen caught me on this one when she was reading my book, A Change of Plans. It's one of those things that, if we stop to think about it, makes perfect sense.
So, think about this commonly used idiom:
try and ....
Typically, what does the word "and" do? Doesn't it connect things?
I sing and dance.
I try and ... fail? Okay, in this instance I can buy "try and".
But how about this:
I will try and call her.
I will try [what?] and call her. See what I mean? It's confusing. What makes sense is this:
I will try to call her.
Now it's clear the speaker is going to attempt something.
According to Grammar Girl, "try and" is acceptable in informal speech but should be avoided in formal writing. Well, I don't know about you, but I tend to write the way I speak (even if my editor doesn't believe me).
I say to go for clarity. Every time.
Does this little bit of grammar trip you up? Do you think it's just a matter of time before we have a new grammar rule?
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And while you're at it, don't forget to set aside July 12th & 13th for a wicked awesome writing conference. We've got a stellar list of presenters and topics, and it's so affordable! You can register at the top right.