Try getting here on time.

cheshire

Senior Member
Japanese
(1) Try getting here on time.
(2) Try and get here on time.

A book I'm reading says (2) is just asking someone to come here on time, but (1) is accusing someone of not coming here on time in the past. So (1) should be avoided unless you actually mean to criticize him. Is it true?
 
  • equivoque

    Senior Member
    Australia - English
    That seems to be splitting hairs. I think the tone of voice would be more indicative of the speaker's meaning. Without a modifier, such as, " ... for once!" the first sentence may be a little more blunt.
     

    Mike

    Senior Member
    Australia, English
    (1) Try getting here on time.
    (2) Try and get here on time.

    A book I'm reading says (2) is just asking someone to come here on time, but (1) is accusing someone of not coming here on time in the past. So (1) should be avoided unless you actually mean to criticize him. Is it true?
    I wouldn't say so, not strictly, anyway.

    As long as I've taught, I never come across try and do something in textbooks (that's not to say I don't say it myself, it comes off the tongue a lot easier).

    That said, try followed by a participle always means to experiment with something. You don't feel too well after a big drinking session last night? try drinking some of this, you may feel better. Whereas try and infinitive is limited to attempting something-- I went to Bob's house to try to speak to him as his phone is disconnected, but he wasn't there, so I tried calling his friends to see if they knew where he was.

    So, that said, it depends on context. I could find instances where both are critical, it's just the meaning changes. Though I can see how using the participle might make it sound more critical, as it's suggesting the subject try something new, like being on time.

    I hope that helps.

    Cheers

    Mike
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    (1) Try getting here on time.
    (2) Try and get here on time.

    A book I'm reading says (2) is just asking someone to come here on time, but (1) is accusing someone of not coming here on time in the past. So (1) should be avoided unless you actually mean to criticize him. Is it true?
    Both could be considered to be sarcastic, depending on the tone, as equivoque mentioned, or the context.

    For example, a person could be complaining that he didn't have enough time in class to complete a test because he showed up late; the speaker could respond, "Next time, try getting here on time, and you'll have more than enough time to do your work".

    For the second phrase, the person could be saying that she doesn't know if she'll arrive on time because she has a lot of errands to run. The teacher could respond, "We all have busy lives - just try and get here on time, and quit making excuses."
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I wouldn't say that cheshire. In general, I agree with most of what has been said already, however, I would naturally assume that the first sentence was a form of admonition whereas the second could be a simple request with no underlying sarcasm. I might say this to a friend in the sense of 'I know you have some problems, but please do your best to be on time'.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    To me, the first sounds like the person is frequently late - getting sounds more general:
    You are always late to class - try getting here on time.

    The second sounds more appropriate for a single instance:
    You must not miss the train - try to get here on time.

    Try and [verb] is extremely common in the US, but I'd prefer try to.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Ditto to all of KellyB's remarks. :)

    If you actually wanted to add a clearly accusatory tone, I'd suggest the addition of "for once" to the sentence. Both sentences become much more accusatory and negative with those two words added:

    "Try getting here on time for once."
    "Try and/(Try to) get here on time for once."

    (And, as KellyB says, "Try and" is very common in AE, but "Try to" is a better construction, in my opinion, and preferred.)

    That's the most common way I know of in everyday speech to indicate displeasure and judgment regarding a past behavior like constant tardiness.

    The other distinctions seem much too subtle and subject to different interpretation. "for once" makes it very clear that the person speaking has the distinct opinion that the other person is always late.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you!

    It became all clearer when you compared "try and" to "try to."
    "Try -ing" is commanding somebody to actually do something, but "try to" is commanding somebody to try to do something, while not asking necesarrily the outcome. As the latter gives somebody more leeway, it's less imperative.
     
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