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English Grammar - "try to do" or "try doing"?


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Hi there, my name is Emma and in today's lesson we're going to look at the difference between

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"try to do" and "try doing". We're going to look at other verbs other than "do" and "doing",

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but we're looking at the difference between the gerund form of "try" and the infinitive

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form of "try". So let's get started.

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Okay, so first let's look at what's known as the infinitive. What do I mean by infinitive?

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Well, I'm talking about when we have two verbs, so we have verb one which is "try" and we

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have a second verb, so here's verb two, okay? So two verbs in the sentence and they're connected

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with the preposition "to". Okay? So for example: "I tried to eat healthy." Okay? We're going

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to compare this to: "try" + verb, and the verb ends with "-ing". This is called a gerund.

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Okay, so again we have two verbs, verb one is "try" and we have a second verb which is

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"verb + ing". So for example: "I tried eating healthy." All right, so what is the difference?

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What is the difference between "try to" and "try verb + ing"? Well let's get started with

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"try to". Okay, when we "try to do" something it means we make a very big effort, we attempt

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to do something that's very difficult. So we're not doing something that's easy, we're

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doing something that's hard; we're trying to do it. And often times, even though we

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try our best, we often fail, meaning we don't do what we want to do. We try hard, but we

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don't do it. So let's look at some examples of this.

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Okay, example number one: "Maria tried to climb Mt. Everest." Well first of all, notice

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we have verb one, we have "to", and then we have verb two. Okay? So it's the infinitive

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form after "try". Now is Mount Everest something easy to climb? Is it an easy mountain, can

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anyone do it? No. It's something difficult, so that's our first clue. Our second clue

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is that Maria, she tried her best, okay? Maria tried to climb Mount Everest. This sentence

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indicates she probably failed, meaning she probably wasn't successful. She tried her

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best, but she probably didn't climb Mount Everest.

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Let's look at another example. "I tried" -- so here we have verb one again - "to" -- verb

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two - "watch" -- this is a really scary movie - "Paranormal Activity." I don't know if you've

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heard of it. So I tried to watch Paranormal Activity, but the whole time I had my eyes

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like this because it was too scary! So I tried to watch it, but it was too scary. So for

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me, this is something difficult. Watching this movie is very difficult because I jumped

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a lot, I just couldn't watch this movie; it was just so scary. So for me, it was difficult.

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I tried to do it, I attempted this difficult action. Was I successful? No, the whole time

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my eyes were covered. So I don't know what happens. I heard a lot of screaming. I can

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imagine it was very bad... very scary movie.

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Okay, our third example: "Deepak tried to study, but he was too tired." Okay? So for

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Deepak, studying is a very difficult thing to do. Why is it so difficult? Because he's

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tired. I don't know if you've ever tried to study when you're really tired, but it's not

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easy. You look at the paper, you can barely see things, you read the same sentence again

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