What's the difference between try to do and try doing something?

Hello Alan, Mister Micawber, Beeesneees, Mordant, Esl_Expert & other native nayaritas.net speakers,

I tried lớn Call her, but the line was busy.I tried calling her, but the line was busy.

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Although “try to lớn vì chưng something” và “try doing something” don’t mean the same thing, both make sense, don’t they? However, #1 doesn’t make sense, followed by “but the line was busy,” does it?


“Try” with a gerund usually means to lớn complete an act intended khổng lồ solve a problem. It can also just mean to attempt an act.

“Try to” usually just means to attempt an act, although it can take the “perform lớn solve” meaning.

So there are many cases where either works, including your example. Number one makes sense as is.

Below, the talk took place but failed to achieve the desired outcome. And it makes sense either way.

Were you able lớn persuade Lucy to come around?I tried to talk to her, but she would not change her mind.

Or

I tried talking to lớn her, but she would not change her mind.


Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #3

Thank you, Mordant.

In #1, the speaker attempted khổng lồ call her, didn’t he? How could he have been able to know that the line was busy?


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #4

Tofu, the Gọi was actually made, but the intent behind it failed. People talk that way all the time, though.


Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #5

He tried to eat some cake, but…Did he actually eat it?


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #6

No, Tofu. Although I could imagine “He tried khổng lồ eat the cake, but he wasn’t able lớn keep it down.” The context will make it clear.


Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #7

I tried to gọi her, but the line was busy.The speaker didn’t make a phone call to lớn her, didn’t he? How could people have known the line was busy?


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #8

Tofu, please see my post above sầu again.

He tried khổng lồ write a novel, but it wasn’t published.

This does not mean a novel wasn’t written. All it says is that the attempt was made. The contrast lies in the failure of the goal behind it.

I like hyên ổn, but he should treat her better.

“But” shows contrast, but it doesn’t mean that speaker dislikes the man, does it?

If we knew the novel was completed, it would be clearer khổng lồ say “He wrote a novel, but it wasn’t published.” That does not mean “try” does not make sense, though.


Remula June 12, 2018, 10:26am #9

Hi, Mordant

I really don’t see any difference between them, altough I read that try to lớn is used when smb attempt or effort khổng lồ bởi vì smth, but try ing is used when smb vì smth for experiment. In examples efforts và experiments phối like those mentioned above:

I tried to talk to her, but she would not change her mind.

Or

I tried talking to lớn her, but she would not change her mind.

Tofu, I think youl should catch it from context. There is no other way

*

best regards


Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #10

I’m getting more & more confused. Let me give up here, Mordant. Sorry.


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #11

Remula, it comes down to making an attempt every time. The distinction is frail và one of frequency.

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Do you bởi vì any exercise?I try to ride my xe đạp twice a week.

The infinitive seems to lớn be more common in that context, but the gerund would still satisfy grammar and usage.

The computer is acting funny.I tried rebooting it last night, but I see it didn’t solve sầu anything.

The gerund seems more comtháng in that context. But the infinitive would still satisfy grammar & usage. The act was attempted in order to solve a problem. In this case, the problem was not solved.


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #12

Tofu, disregard it all.

This much is true. To try is to attempt but not necessarily to lớn fail.

I tried to lớn gọi her. = The attempt was made.

But the line was busy. = This is what happened as a result of the attempt.

“But” shows contrast, but what follows doesn’t invalidate what precedes it.

He obviously intended khổng lồ speak with her, & since that did not happen, “but” is justified.


Remula June 12, 2018, 10:26am #13

In a word, it depends on writer’s purpose. If he thinks that it’s an attempt he uses khổng lồ, if he thinks it’s an experiment, he uses ing. For example, riding bike may be interpreted both as an effort & as an experiment at the same time. But for the last sentence I think ing is more typical.

My God, how it’s difficult!


Beeesneees June 12, 2018, 10:26am #14

As Mordant says:I tried lớn điện thoại tư vấn her: I picked up the telephone & dialled the number.but the line was busy: I heard a ‘busy’ tone on the line and so I could not complete the điện thoại tư vấn by connecting to the other tiệc nhỏ.

An example of an extension:"I tried lớn gọi her earlier but the line was busy. I’m going khổng lồ try to lớn Call her again now.


Alan June 12, 2018, 10:26am #15

Hi Tofu,

Are you still there? This is a very trying thread, isn’t it?

Try this:

A What are you doing?

B I’m trying khổng lồ turn my computer on but the stupid thing won’t start.

A Have sầu you tried taking the plug out of the socket và then trying to lớn start it again.

B OK I’ll try that.

Alan


Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #16

I’m bachồng. I thought about “try to điện thoại tư vấn someone” many times after clearing my head, but I haven’t reached the conclusion yet.

tinyurl.com/2a3vmwu

I tried to Hotline him, but I didn’t have a good connection…I tried to call hyên, but didn’t get through…I tried to Call hlặng, but all I got was busy signals…I tried to lớn gọi hyên but there was no response…

tinyurl.com/2dq84xd

I tried to lớn call hyên, but no one answered…I tried to lớn Hotline hyên, but I couldn’t get a signal from his line…I tried lớn Điện thoại tư vấn him, but he wouldn’t answer…I tried to Call him, but couldn’t get an answer…

tinyurl.com/267mj73

I tried khổng lồ Call him, but couldn’t get in touch with him…I tried khổng lồ Hotline hyên ổn, but he didn’t answer the phone…

If the speaker in each example above used this phone, it seems like he or she picked up the receiver and dialed the other party’s number, doesn’t it?


Alan June 12, 2018, 10:26am #17

Yes !!!


Mordant June 12, 2018, 10:26am #18

Lol at both Alan và Tofu.

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Tofu June 12, 2018, 10:26am #19

I tried calling hlặng, but…What did the speaker did, then?


Beeesneees June 12, 2018, 10:26am #trăng tròn

What did the speaker do?

He picked up the receiver handphối và dialled the number. He heard a busy (engaged) tone. He replaced the handmix.


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