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TOPIC: Try vs Attempt

Try vs Attempt #321

  • guest1
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Is there any difference in meaning between the two verbs "to try" and "to attempt"?

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Try vs Attempt #322

  • workplaceenglishexpert
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The two verbs do have similar meanings.

Attempt and try basically mean the same thing, but attempt is more formal and might be used more in official writing. However, there are some subtle differences between the usage of the two verbs.

To try is the generic term while to attempt is the specific term. When we try, we are usually uncertain as to success; when we attempt, we always have some definite objective that we want to accomplish. We may not particularly care about the outcome of something that we try, but we seldom attempt anything without really wanting to succeed.

Try can also mean to test out as in this sentence: I will try the new restaurant tonight. And: Have you tried using a different type of paper in the printer? The verb attempt would sound very strange in the second sentence, and it would not make any sense at all in the first one.

Hope this clarifies the differences between the two.


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