I was trying to eat hot food, but I didn't eat the hot food

Isn't it contradictory? There are 'eat' and 'didn't eat' in this structure. However, in informal, I think people use this kind of contradictions, especially when it comes to sentences including 'to's. Ex) I wanted to eat food, but I didn't eat the food. I want food when I'm in the car, but I'm not in the car.

I think 'maybe' it can be related to philosophy. Ex) Unicorns help people, but the unicorns doesn't exist. Though I think there must be a linguistic name. After I make a picture, I describe it or after I make a statement, I make a picture, (but actually, in this case, there's no picture to referred). I want to know related linguistic terms. Something like 'top-down or bottom-up processing'


  • Because the attempt [to eat hot food] failed, it strikes me as "marked" to describe that attempt using the continuous verb form. Far more natural than I was trying... would be Simple Past I tried to do it [but was unable to do it]. Jan 12 at 11:33
  • 'I tried to do it, but I was unable to do it' totally makes sense, but I want to talk about a sentence without 'unable,' just 'but I was not to do it.'
    – Iamgay
    Jan 12 at 11:38
  • Don't use try then. It makes no sense to say that although you tried to do something , you didn't do it for some reason other than being "unable". You could certainly say I wanted to do it but I didn't do it even if that wasn't because you lacked the ability (perhaps you held back because you knew that doing it was morally unacceptable). But frankly I don't see how something you tried or wanted to do is a useful example context. You just seem to be asking about "self-contradictory / paradox" utterances like I am telling you the truth right now, by saying that I am lying. Jan 12 at 11:51

There is no contradiction because you have used the word "trying".

If the sentence had been, 'I was eating hot food, but I didn't eat the hot food', that would be a contradiction.

Let's look at a particular situation.

'Someone gave me a phaal curry. I kept trying to eat the phaal, but I didn't eat the phaal because, it was too hot to keep in my mouth.'

  • I don't think so. 'Eat the phaal' in the former sentence has no something referred.
    – Iamgay
    Jan 12 at 11:16
  • I don't understand what you mean by "has no something referred" Jan 12 at 11:18
  • I mean a statement whose the meaning doesn't exist.
    – Iamgay
    Jan 12 at 11:19
  • If you mean "'Someone gave me a phaal curry", that seems a reasonable statement to me. Or do you mean that "phaal curry" doesn't exist? I picked it at random - it is described in this link chilipeppermadness.com/recipes/phaal-curry Jan 12 at 11:22
  • It's not a matter of reasonability. Semantically, if 'I didn't eat the phaal' is true, 'to eat the phaal' should be wrong.
    – Iamgay
    Jan 12 at 11:29

I would probably say:

I trying to eat hot food, but ended up not eating it.


I was trying to eat hot food, but ended up not wanting to eat it.

Or if you have already started eating it:

I was trying to eat hot food, but stopped halfway through


I was trying to eat hot food, but ended up not finishing it.

Your sentence is wrong because your using the word hot food twice.When you say what your trying to eat like "spicy noodles" spicy noodles is already your subject/object.There is no need to use it again due to the fact that 'eat' is already entitled to it and if you call ate as in "then later I ate it" the reader will know what you ate.

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