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Saturday, September 27, 2008

I should try and not pick on sports writers

What does "try and. . ." mean? The correct expression is "try to . . .". It's try not to pick on. Or it's try to find, not try and find. It used to be the only time I regularly saw "try and" in print was in student papers. It's a colloquialism that students pick up and carry over into their writing because it's what they've always heard. But I see it more and more in the writing from professional health writers that I'm editing. Then this morning on the Buckeyextra web site run by the Columbus Dispatch I saw the following sentence in an article by Dispatch sports writer Ken Gordon:

"Hines' ascension into a prominent role is just one example of how 14th-ranked Ohio State (3-1) has altered its defense to try and get more speed on the field."

You would think that even if the writer doesn't know the difference, the editor should have. There are a lot of other common errors that can rob sentences of meaning. There's also a very useful catalogue of those errors on the Washington State University web site.


  1. You're as picky as I am!! ;)

    Thanks for the tip! I'll try and remember it...


    I will try to remember it. :D

  2. Thanks for the tip. I know I have used that phrase man a time. I will now know the correct use. I'll try to remember it.

    Thanks for commenting on my poem.