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I was wondering if someone could tell me the difference between the following sentences:

  • Try this cake
  • Try this cake out

I guess the second sentence mean the same as the first one, but the second one is a bit informal.

3 Answers 3

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In general, these are very similar. To try something out means you are sampling it and judging its performance. Hence you can also say, try someone out (see how they do at a particular task).

For food, I don't think that you can use "out" though. Maybe officially you can, but in practice, this sounds very strange to me:

Try this chicken out

For food, you should just use

Try this chicken

On the other hand, if you're talking about a new restaurant, either version works

We should try out the new Chinese place down the block!

OR

We should try the new Chinese place down the block!

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When we "try something out", we use it to see if it works as it should or if it meets our expectations.

When we "try something" we sample it (eat a piece of it, take a go at it if it's an activity).

We might try out a cake recipe, but we would try the cake.

Complicating matters, if a speaker in his mind is thinking "cake recipe" (of if the conversation is about cake recipes) he might say:

I'm going to try out this cake.

What he says is not exactly what he means. By "this cake", he means making this cake according to some recipe.

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I think it depends of context. For example try this cake just means test this cake.
try this cake out makes it a little bit different since you can try a cake to see whether you like it or want to buy it. For instance, I tried this cake out before I bought it. (But which place or who allow this? It's weird.)

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