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I would like to ask about the usage of the verbs "to try out" and "to try".

For example, when we say:

I am going to try a diet out this month and I hope it is going work to help me lose 10 kg in a month.

I am going to try a diet this month and I hope it is going work to help me lose 10 kg in a month.

Is there a difference in terms of meaning? I have heard there could be regional differences in usage as well; is that true? (I mean is one or the other maybe ok in the US but less common in the UK?)

When I look up "to try out" in an online dictonary it says "to test or use somebody/something in order to see how good or effective they are". So I noticed that we need there to be a thing to try out. But, I reckon, another verb must follow if we only use "try", for example:

I am going to try to run 10 miles today.

I would like to ask you to check if my other sentences below are ok in this sense.

  1. Hey, have you heard? A famous kebab shop chain has launched a new branch in town. The restaurant itself is pretty big and the prices are 50% off for today. So I am going to try it (out) today.

  2. I am planning on buying new stuff for learning English. I found out there is a video series which is provided by Oxford University. But before I buy the whole DVD set, I am going to try out the demo in order to see if they are useful to me.

  3. I will try out a new antivirus software as the last one I bought was not able to prevent viruses from infecting my computer.

  4. I have bought new chemical-proof work clothes so the workers can be protected from hazardous materials in the factory. Have every worker try them out, and make a report if it works for us.

  5. I will try out the LG3 smart phone to see if it is worth buying.

  6. I will try to use this grammar book for my dissertation this time because the old one is pretty out-of-date.

(I am aware that there is another thread on this topic on this site. I wrote this down after reading that thread, because it doesn't fully answer my questions. This question is not a duplicate, more like an extended version of the existing one.)

Thanks in advance!

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  • 1
    I only edited #1-#5. "Try out" is a phrasal verb. Try to avoid splitting phrasal verbs with several words ("try the LG3 smartphone out" -> "try out the LG3 smartphone"), but "try it out" is okay. I made other edits for non-related errors, but you are using "try out" correctly!
    – miltonaut
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 13:44
  • For the first example both sentences are acceptable, aren't they?I can say " I am going to try or try out the new restaurant" and " I am going to try or try our a new diet" , can't I?
    – Mrt
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 20:30
  • You're welcome! This same question came up in a conversation the next day (yesterday). Answering you helped me answer that person, so thank you, too! And yes, 'try' and 'try out' are interchangeable for test/evaluate.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 1:59

4 Answers 4

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In this case, "try" and "try out" both mean "to test/examine".

You have to look at what comes after the "try":

  1. try + noun = test: Shall we try the new restaurant?
  2. try out + noun = test: I want to try out the new Mercedes.
  3. try out + for = attempt: I'm going to try out for the football team.
  4. try + on = test clothing/accessories: Try on this perfume and see if you like it.
  5. try + infinitive = attempt: Let's try to get seats close to the stage.

Check your question to see how I edited your example questions.

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The verb to try X often has two partially overlapping senses. From dictionary.com...

1: to attempt to do or accomplish (sense #1 in link)
2: to endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience (sense #3 in link)

In something like "I'm trying a new diet, either or both senses might apply (I'm going to attempt to follow this diet, and/or evaluate it).

But for most native speakers, to try out X (or to try X out - both sequences are equally valid) would normally be understood to convey only the second (evaluate) sense.


There's also to try X on (where X is an item of clothing, or something you can put on [yourself]), which always has sense #2 above (you're performing the "trial" in order to evaluate whether the clothing fits, for example). Except in the idiomatic special case...

3: to try it on

This (chiefly BrE usage, sense #18 in the link above) can either mean to put on airs (adopt a haughty demeanour), or to be forward or presumptuous (especially, to make unwanted sexual advances). I'd say these are both variants of the first definition given above.

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All of your examples work both with and without the word "out," except for #6 in which you correctly left it out.

The phrase "try out" is strongly associated with judgment. It might be a helpful memory device to know that when someone wants to be recruited onto a sports team, they "try out for the team." When recruitment is held as an event where multiple candidates are trying out, the event is often called a "tryout" or "tryouts," as in "Joe is going to the football tryouts after school."

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  • Thanks for extra information.I think tryouts are like audiotions for sport teams
    – Mrt
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 21:14
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    @Murat Basically, yes! "Audition" is a formal word, almost never used in sports. Also, you can use "tryout" in casual conversation to describe an audition for a musical or theatrical production, but some people in the performing arts will consider that to be unsophisticated and amateurish.
    – Jesse
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 21:29
  • I get what you mean exactly.
    – Mrt
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 21:35
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"try out" implies that there is no question of your ability to do a thing, only that choosing to continue doing/using a thing will depend on your enjoyment of the results of your trial.

Try can apply to the subject or the object of a sentence. Try out(as a verb) only applies to the object.

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