I read the following sentence in English Grammar in Use book (App).

I will try and answer any questions you ask.

Why don't they use the following? (it is much common):

I will try to answer any questions you ask.

Is there any difference in meaning?


I noticed that a lot of books and news websites are using this phrase:

  • Although Katty will try and answer as many questions as she can. BBC
  • He puller would have a chance to try and answer the question on her own ... The Multiplayer Classroom

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    LOL - I am the only one that thinks of Yoda? “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
    – MaxW
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:45
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    Apparently, you are Feb 12, 2017 at 12:11

5 Answers 5


"Try to" and "try and" have the same meaning. It is often asserted that "I will try and answer your questions" means "I will try and I will answer your questions" and that "try and" somehow promises that the trying will be successful. However, this claim isn't supported by actual usage: when people say "try and", they almost invariably mean exactly the same thing as "try to".

"Try and" is felt to be rather informal (and some people will insist that it is grammatically incorrect), so "try to" is normally used in more formal contexts. See, for example, this video from Merriam Webster's Ask the Editor.

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    Really? Maybe colloquially, but grammatically? Doesn't I will try and answer imply I will try and I will answer? (which can't really be guaranteed). Maybe I am just an old pedant, but I put try and in that context into the came category as should of - I understand what is meant, BUT ... Feb 12, 2017 at 12:14
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    @Mawg It's certainly not in the same category as "should of". "Should of" is just ungrammatical, whereas "try and" can, as you show, be parsed as having meaning, even if you don't accept that it has the same meaning as "try to". Usage is that "try and" means exactly the same as "try to". You might want it to mean something different, but that's not what people mean when they say "try and". Feb 12, 2017 at 12:17
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    I think you mean "I will continue and accept..." :-D Feb 12, 2017 at 12:19
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    Volltreffer ! (+1) Feb 12, 2017 at 12:21
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    A "promise that the trying will be successful" might perhaps be expressed as: "I will answer or die trying" SCNR ;) Feb 12, 2017 at 21:29

The first way is spoken just as often as the second way, however I think the second way is written more.

I often say I'll try and get that finished, but I usually type I'll try to get that finished. The first way has a slightly friendlier tone.

Using and like this seems like just one of those things that doesn't make a lot of logical sense in the language.


Both of you sentences are usually undertood to mean the same thing, however I think there is a subtle difference.

I will try to answer any questions you ask.

means what it says, the expected outcome is an answer.

I will try and answer any questions you ask.

is slightly different, since an explanation may usually be given for the train of thought in trying to arrive at an answer, though the final answer may not be revealed at the end.

Consider the difference between

Let's try to see how we can agree on this.

Let's try and see how we can agree on this.

The former objective is reaching agreement, the latter is more a negotiation to explore how agreement can be met.

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    Could you give any citation for your claim of this subtle difference? I don't think it exists. Feb 12, 2017 at 11:41

It's a mistake in the book.

The correct phrase is:

I will try to answer any questions you ask.

For some reason, and in some circles, it is sadly becoming commonplace to say/write "try and" instead. It's somewhat ironic to see this error in a book about teaching grammar! I'm not sure I'd trust it to teach any such thing.

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    I'm also astounded at how many answers here are claiming that there is some sort of actual distinct meaning intended by those who say try and. There isn't! Feb 12, 2017 at 17:55
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    You yourself claim that it has a different meaning in this comment. Feb 12, 2017 at 18:22
  • @DavidRicherby: You misread my prior comment. I observed that these answers are claiming that others intend to invoke that other meaning. I don't believe they do. I believe they mean "try to" but get it wrong. At least, I've never seen someone say "try and" and actually mean what it means (its true meaning being indeed revealed in my comment that you linked to). Feb 12, 2017 at 18:26
  • OK. But I don't understand what you mean by "true meaning" as distinct from "meaning". There's no central authority that assigns meanings to English sentences. Essentially, The only thing that anybody ever means by "try and" is "try to"; there is no other common meaning. Feb 12, 2017 at 19:15
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    "It is sadly becoming" must refer to quite a long timespan. I remember learning "try and" as idiomatic almost 40 years ago (and wasn't much surprised then because a similar construct is common in Low German and Danish) Feb 12, 2017 at 21:36

"I will try and answer any questions you ask." is equivalent to "I will try and I will answer any questions you ask." The statement is really an overreach because if you don't know then you don't know. Saying "I don't know" isn't really an answer. So you're promising more than you actually might be able to provide.

"I will try to answer any questions you ask" is the better sentence to me. You're not over promising.

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    "I will try and answer" does not assert that "I will definitely answer as a result of my trying". Feb 12, 2017 at 11:40
  • @DavidRicherby: It [almost] does. It means "I will try, and I will answer". The causation is indeed not there, but then MaxW didn't claim any. Feb 12, 2017 at 17:55
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit No. It means "I will try to answer." This has been established by long usage. Feb 12, 2017 at 18:21
  • @DavidRicherby: Apologist ;) Feb 12, 2017 at 18:26
  • @DavidRicherby - Yes I would agree that common usage makes me interpret "I will try and answer any questions you ask" as "I will try to answer any questions you ask." But why not use "I will try to answer any questions you ask" in the first place? It is the better constructed sentence.
    – MaxW
    Feb 12, 2017 at 18:39

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