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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    tried not to drink any saltwater.

    I learned in this website that "tried to do something" always means a failure in the past, while it is unclear in the present or future. So the underlined should mean "they failed to drink any saltwater, so they eventually drank some saltwater", but the question's answer shows it is false that they drank saltwater and this makes me confused. This is a qustion in a Korean grammar book, so I doubt it may be wrong.
    Please let me know if "tried to do something" always means a failure, while "tried doing something" means a success.

    ex)Two fishermen are coming home from sea. They were found in a lifeboat, 7000km from home. How did this happen? The two men were fishing when their boat had a problem. They got into thier lifeboat. But they were pushed far away from land by the wind. When they were found, they were staying alive by eating fish. They also tried not to drink any saltwater. They lived in the lifeboat for four months. Doctors say the two men will be feeling better ver soon.
    Q. Select which is not true in the paragraph.-5)
    1)..2)...3)..4).
    .5)The two fishermen stayed alive eating fish and drinking saltwater.

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    #2

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    They did NOT stay alive by eating fish and drinking saltwater. They stayed alive by eating fish and avoiding drinking saltwater.

  2. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    They did NOT stay alive by eating fish and drinking saltwater. They stayed alive by eating fish and avoiding drinking saltwater.
    Then what about the meaning of "to try do something in the past"? Did it fail or succeed?

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    #4

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    They likely failed and did, in fact, drink some seawater.

    But they did not survive by doing this. They survived in spite of doing this.

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Okay, thanks for your answer, but I'd like to focus on the difference between "try to" and "try ~ing", not on the contextual inference of what happened.

    Is this correct in terms of the past? I learned from this website that "tried to do something" always means a failure, not an unclear result.
    1. He tried to open the door - He failed to open the door
    2. He tried opening the door - He actually opened the door.

    While in the present and the future, it is kind of vague.
    1. He is trying to calling her or (He will try to call her) - uncertainty of success, could be a success or a failure
    2. He is trying calling her or (He will try calling her) - closer to success as it means actually doing it.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, thanks for your answer, but I'd like to focus on the difference between "try to" and "try ~ing", not on the contextual inference of what happened.

    Is this correct in terms of the past? I learned from this website that "tried to do something" always means a failure, not an unclear result.
    1. He tried to open the door - He failed to open the door
    2. He tried opening the door - He actually opened the door.

    While in the present and the future, it is kind of vague.
    1. He is trying to calling her or (He will try to call her) - uncertainty of success, could be a success or a failure
    2. He is trying calling her or (He will try calling her) - closer to success as it means actually doing it.
    "He tried to open the door" and "He tried opening the door" can both mean that he put his hand on the handle and attempted to change the door's status from closed to open. Neither statement gives any clue as to whether or not he was successful.

    He tried opening the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up.
    He tried to open the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up.

    In your original example, the two fishermen knew that it is very bad for your health to drink saltwater. However, when you are stranded at sea and you are surrounded by water, it is probably very tempting to drink it even though it is saltwater. They tried to avoid drinking the sea water. My personal opinion is that it's not entirely clear if they did in fact give in and drink a little. It only says they tried not to drink it. They may have drunk a little but somehow managed to survive four months on almost nothing but fish (I imagine they did the obvious thing and drank their own urine for hydration).

  5. keannu's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "He tried to open the door" and "He tried opening the door" can both mean that he put his hand on the handle and attempted to change the door's status from closed to open. Neither statement gives any clue as to whether or not he was successful.

    He tried opening the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up.
    He tried to open the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up.

    In your original example, the two fishermen knew that it is very bad for your health to drink saltwater. However, when you are stranded at sea and you are surrounded by water, it is probably very tempting to drink it even though it is saltwater. They tried to avoid drinking the sea water. My personal opinion is that it's not entirely clear if they did in fact give in and drink a little. It only says they tried not to drink it. They may have drunk a little but somehow managed to survive four months on almost nothing but fish (I imagine they did the obvious thing and drank their own urine for hydration).
    I'm pretty much confused as 5jedjon told me "try to" always means a failure in the past and "try ~ing" a success. I don't know why different native speakers have different opinions about the same thing.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "He tried to open the door" and "He tried opening the door" can both mean that he put his hand on the handle and attempted to change the door's status from closed to open. Neither statement gives any clue as to whether or not he was successful.
    I disagree.
    He tried opening the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up."
    For me this is not a natural sentence. If he tried opening it, he actually opened it - in order to discover something, as in, "The room was very stuffy, so he tried opening the door, but that didn't help much".
    "He tried to open the door but it was clearly locked from the outside so he gave up."
    That one is fine.
    In talking about past 'tries' the difference is very clear to me. If what is to be tried is in the future, then whether the try succeeds or not is unclear. Even here, however, the implication in such sentences as 'Try opening the window' is that you will succceed in carrying out this experiment; In 'Try to open the window', the implication is that you may not be able to open it.

  7. keannu's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I disagree.For me this is not a natural sentence. If he tried opening it, he actually opened it - in order to discover something, as in, "The room was very stuffy, so he tried opening the door, but that didn't help much".
    In talking about past 'tries' the difference is very clear to me. If what is to be tried is in the future, then whether the try succeeds or not is unclear. Even here, however, the implication in such sentences as 'Try opening the window' is that you will succceed in carrying out this experiment; In 'Try to open the window', the implication is that you may not be able to open it.
    Okay, Master, then do you also agree the the seamen failed to avoid drinking sea water, so they finally drank it?

  8. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: tried not to drink any saltwater.

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, Master, then do you also agree the the seamen failed to avoid drinking sea water, so they finally drank it?
    I agree with Soothing Dave's answer in post #4.

    It is not possible to say for sure, but the implication of 'tried not to' is that they probably failed - though this does not necessarily mean that they drank a lot. If they really didn't drink any, then the writer is more likely to write, "They managed not to drink..."

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