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  1. wotcha's Avatar
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    try to V / try ~ing

    1. I tried to change the light bulb.

    2. I tried changing the light bulb.

    Which one sounds better?

  2. riquecohen's Avatar
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    Re: try to V / try ~ing

    Both are fine.

  3. nyota's Avatar
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    Re: try to V / try ~ing

    I'm not a teacher

    Additional info:

    (2) sounds like you were experimenting, testing something
    (1) means you're making an attempt, effort

    I tried to lose on weight, but I am still as fat as I was.
    I tried using oil instead of butter, but I found the meals disgusting.

    Longman entry here:

    try doing something test/use - to do or use something for a short while to discover if it is suitable, successful, enjoyable etc:
    They decided they would try living in America for a while.
    Try logging off and logging on again.

    try to do something - attempt - to attempt to do or get something:
    He tried to control his voice.
    She was trying not to cry

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    Re: try to V / try ~ing

    nyota has given a good answer to our question. I would add just that sometimes the difference may not appear very great, as both forms may be possible in the same situation.

    Patient: I can't stop coughing.
    Doctor: Have you tried stopping/to stop smoking?

    Although the doctor might say either of these things, there is a difference in meaning - as nyota explained with other verbs.

    Have you tried stopping smoking? - Have you given up smoking for a period (to see if it eased the coughing)?

    Have you tried to stop smoking? - Have you made an attempt to give up?

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