If I had continued more to attempt, ... (1)

If I had continued to attempt more, ... (2)

My professor said that you can just intensify the verb attempt, not continue. I suppose that's true.What would the phrase "continue more" mean? It doesn't make any sense! The verb "continue" includes the concept of "more." It means that you are going to do more of something.


In another hand,

In the first you intensify the verb continued In the second you give the priority to the verb attempt.

If you think that the results to achive is connected to the fact you are continuously doing the effort, then the right choise is the first sentence. Otherwise if you think that the main action is to attempt, then you should use the second one.

In the first way you lack of perseverance, in the second way you lack of strenght, probably the better way to put that, should be: If I had continued to attempt, ...

So, would you tell me which of them is correct?


To me, both of those examples sound awkward. In the first:

If I had continued more to attempt ...

The words feel out of order in my ears, but there isn't any other way to order them grammatically. In other words, that is correct, but it doesn't convey the intended meaning well.

In my experience, continuing and attempting are not actions that can be intensified, at least not with "more". I think the best way to express that concept would be "longer":

If I had continued longer to attempt ...

This is still strange, however, but now the strangeness is in the action being continued: "to attempt". To me, "attempt" is a kind of placeholder. There is some action you want to perform, but it might not be possible to complete it, so you merely "attempt" it. A more natural, idiomatic approach to this would be:

If I had continued longer in my attempt ...

Now I really want to hear what the speaker attempted because the main point of the sentence flows naturally from here:

If I had continued longer in my attempt to stay awake, I would have been too drowsy the next day.

  • I wish I had continued more at the end. Would you possibly elaborate the reason why the sentence above is incorrect? Thanks in advance
    – nima
    Jul 17 '14 at 8:33
  • It is correct, but it is not clear. When were you wishing? When should you have continued? There are at least two things this could mean. "Now, at the end, I wish I had kept trying," is one possible meaning. "I wish I had kept trying to the end," is another. Jul 17 '14 at 14:20
  • what is your opinion about this version?If I had continued to attempt for a longer time...
    – nima
    Sep 5 '14 at 3:17
  • That still sounds strange to me. Again, it is not wrong, but it does not flow well. Maybe "If I had continued to attempt any longer..." Sep 5 '14 at 3:22
  • For instance, if you are going to emphasis the period of time, not the verb attempt,then what would you say?
    – nima
    Sep 5 '14 at 4:45

I would suggest, if you want to intensify 'continue' and give your message a little more depth, follow it with an adverb like 'ardently' or 'earnestly' or with an idiom like "in earnest."

If I continued in earnest to attempt...

In fact, I would also suggest replacing "to attempt" with a verb that describes more distinct an action. By essentially having three verbs in a row ("to continue to attempt to do something") "to attempt" dilutes the sentence, thereby weakening it. The moral of the story here is to cut to the chase.

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