Should I say try and or try to? How about would have or would of?

Replace try and (I will try and fix it) with try to (I will try to fix it). Some grammarians label try and as incorrect when really it is just very informal and best used in conversation. Try to is standard usage and appropriate for all levels of formality in both speech and writing. Other colloquial constructions are synonymous, or nearly so, with try to, such as be sure to and go and. Often try and is interchangeable withtry to, but there are some contexts in which try and implies success, e.g., “Do try and behave,” and others where try and is ironic and implies failure, e.g., “Try and make me move.”

Fowler’s Modern English Usage (Burchfield, R.W., ed. New York: Oxford University Press [3 ed.], 1996) says, “It is an idiom that should not be discountenanced, but used when it comes natural”; but Fowler also wrote that it is “almost confined to exhortations and promises,” and these are more common in informal than in formal contexts. As far as would of (and woulda), it is an irregular spelling of would have or would’ve (same with coulda, could of, shoulda, should of). These forms came to be because they reflect actual pronunciation and using would of in writing often occurs when one is writing in a hurry. The spellings woulda andwould of are often referred to as eye dialect, which means ‘an unusual spelling intended to represent colloquial or dialectal idiosyncrasies of pronunciation.’


  1. G D LISTER -  September 7, 2016 - 4:52 pm

    “Try and” suggests that trying and doing are two separate activities. Trying is the same as attempting, and you would not say “attempt and”, you would say “attempt to”. So, “try and” is grammatically incorrect.

  2. Linda -  June 17, 2016 - 10:21 am

    ‘Try and’ just seems to me to be illogical because it does not admit the possibility of failure inherent in the verb ‘try’. Really, if you are trying you’re not sure of the outcome, so how can you ‘try and’ do it?

    • Dustin A Evans -  August 15, 2016 - 9:04 am

      To ‘try’ something only implies that you are putting effort toward accomplishing that task. While we generally take ‘try’ to mean ‘attempt’ (and it certainly can mean that), it can also mean simply to ‘endeavor’ toward something.

      As such, telling someone to ‘try and’ do something (e.g. – ‘try and behave’) can be taken to mean, “Behave by making an effort to do so.” Quite a mouthful. It’s far simpler to say, “Try and behave.”

      • Robert Caille -  November 10, 2016 - 8:13 am

        And even easier to say.

        try to behave. 1 less letter!

        Try it . It is less trying.

        Proper grammar is ignored and often ridiculed.

        Except in contract law.


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