1. james_chew_84 Guest

highly debatable

I tried to pull him out of the car.
I tried pulling him out of the car.

could anyone explain it to me?

To my understanding I tried to pull is an event that has not been actualized(an unsucessful attempt).therefore saying i tried to pull him out of the car and it took me 15 minutes is wrong(this sentence is wrong because the pharse "it took me minutes 15 minutes shows that it's an actulized event, am i right?)So, saying i tried pulling him out of the car but he held on the steering wheel is wrong because tried pulling shows that it's an actualized event. In short

i tried pulling and it took me 15 mintues=correct
i tried to pull and it took me 15 minutes=incorrect
i tried to pull but he held on to the steering wheel=correct
i tried pulling but he held on to the steering wheel=incorrect

Did what I say make any sense?Sorry if my explanation is hard to understand.

2. Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by james_chew_84
I tried to pull him out of the car.
I tried pulling him out of the car.

could anyone explain it to me?

To my understanding I tried to pull is an event that has not been actualized(an unsucessful attempt).therefore saying i tried to pull him out of the car and it took me 15 minutes is wrong(this sentence is wrong because the pharse "it took me minutes 15 minutes shows that it's an actulized event, am i right?)So, saying i tried pulling him out of the car but he held on the steering wheel is wrong because tried pulling shows that it's an actualized event. In short

i tried pulling and it took me 15 mintues=correct
i tried to pull and it took me 15 minutes=incorrect
i tried to pull but he held on to the steering wheel=correct
i tried pulling but he held on to the steering wheel=incorrect

Did what I say make any sense?Sorry if my explanation is hard to understand.
Your question is understandable. This is a difficult area of English. In many cases, there is a difference in meaning between an infinitive and a gerund. This difference can range from subtle to dramatic. There are many cases, however, in which the difference is very slight to nonexistant.

I would put your sentence in the latter category. Often an infinitve is used for an action that is only a potential and a gerund gives the feeling of real concrete action. However, the verb "try" tends to eliminate the difference in many cases. It already suggests that the attempt was not successful, but was actually attempted. :wink:

3. james_chew_84 Guest

Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by james_chew_84
I tried to pull him out of the car.
I tried pulling him out of the car.

could anyone explain it to me?

To my understanding I tried to pull is an event that has not been actualized(an unsucessful attempt).therefore saying i tried to pull him out of the car and it took me 15 minutes is wrong(this sentence is wrong because the pharse "it took me minutes 15 minutes shows that it's an actulized event, am i right?)So, saying i tried pulling him out of the car but he held on the steering wheel is wrong because tried pulling shows that it's an actualized event. In short

i tried pulling and it took me 15 mintues=correct
i tried to pull and it took me 15 minutes=incorrect
i tried to pull but he held on to the steering wheel=correct
i tried pulling but he held on to the steering wheel=incorrect

Did what I say make any sense?Sorry if my explanation is hard to understand.
Your question is understandable. This is a difficult area of English. In many cases, there is a difference in meaning between an infinitive and a gerund. This difference can range from subtle to dramatic. There are many cases, however, in which the difference is very slight to nonexistant.

I would put your sentence in the latter category. Often an infinitve is used for an action that is only a potential and a gerund gives the feeling of real concrete action. However, the verb "try" tends to eliminate the difference in many cases. It already suggests that the attempt was not successful, but was actually attempted. :wink:
So, is saying I tried pulling him out of the car but he was holding on to the steerig wheel.Correct or incorrect?

4. Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by james_chew_84
So, is saying I tried pulling him out of the car but he was holding on to the steerig wheel.Correct or incorrect?
I would say it is fine. I would accept either version. :wink:

5. james_chew_84 Guest

Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by james_chew_84
So, is saying I tried pulling him out of the car but he was holding on to the steerig wheel.Correct or incorrect?
I would say it is fine. I would accept either version. :wink:
i have to accept English as it is

6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Join Date
Nov 2002
Posts
40,160
Many native speakers refuse to accept it as it is. However, here it is as it is.

7. Originally Posted by tdol
Many native speakers refuse to accept it as it is. However, here it is as it is.

8. Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by james_chew_84
Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by james_chew_84
So, is saying I tried pulling him out of the car but he was holding on to the steerig wheel.Correct or incorrect?
I would say it is fine. I would accept either version. :wink:
i have to accept English as it is
Indeed! :wink:

9. james_chew_84 Guest

Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by james_chew_84
Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by james_chew_84
So, is saying I tried pulling him out of the car but he was holding on to the steerig wheel.Correct or incorrect?
I would say it is fine. I would accept either version. :wink:
i have to accept English as it is
Indeed! :wink:
i think i have an idea on the usage of pulling and to pull.
i think you'll have a hard time trying to understand since i haven't done much research on english grammar and their techinal name
1)i tried to pull but he was holding on to the steering wheel.
(1st sentence) ( second sentence )

i think the usage of tried to pull and pulling are only applicable when the second sentence agrees. the sentence "he was holding on to the steering wheel" shows that it's near impossible that action could have been completed.In general,to pull( an action that hasn't been completed) pulling ( an action that has been completed)And because the seconds sentence shows that it was impossible for that action to be completed, tried to pull is used.It's just like mixed tenses.for example

doctor samuel examined the patient and calls the nurse.(wrong)
doctor smauel examines the nurse and calls the nurse.(right)

10. Re: highly debatable

Originally Posted by james_chew_84
i think i have an idea on the usage of pulling and to pull.
i think you'll have a hard time trying to understand since i haven't done much research on english grammar and their techinal name
1)i tried to pull but he was holding on to the steering wheel.
(1st sentence) ( second sentence )

i think the usage of tried to pull and pulling are only applicable when the second sentence agrees. the sentence "he was holding on to the steering wheel" shows that it's near impossible that action could have been completed.In general,to pull( an action that hasn't been completed) pulling ( an action that has been completed)And because the seconds sentence shows that it was impossible for that action to be completed, tried to pull is used.It's just like mixed tenses.for example

doctor samuel examined the patient and calls the nurse.(wrong)
doctor smauel examines the nurse and calls the nurse.(right)
Yes. As I said, the verb "try" there tends to suggest that the attempt failed. Otherwise, the speaker would have said: I pulled him out of the car.

I don't agree with the rest "pulling" has a prgressive/continuous feel to it because it is in the form of the present participle. It does not indicate a completed action. With either form, the action has not been accomplished, but that is due to the verb "try". I don't think the analogy to mixed tense works here at all. Let's look at other uses of [try] + infinitive/gerund.

Golf instructor:

Try keeping your left arm straight when you hit the ball.
Try to keep your left arm straigth when you hit the ball.

I don't see any difference there.

Boyfriend:

I tried to call you last night, but your line was busy.
I tried calling you last night, but your line was busy.

Any difference there?

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