I am well aware that a similar question has been asked in the past, namely “Try to save” or “try saving”. However, I am not totally satisfied by the posted answers. My problem is that, every time I think I have understood when to use try + infinitive and try + verb + ing (gerund), I forget and mix them up.
I would like a mnemonic, or an infallible reminder which is which, whenever I need to write, speak or teach this construction to private students.
In my grammar books the "rule" stated is:
Try + infinitive = make an effort to do something
Try + gerund = experiment to see if something works
If I ask someone: "Can you try opening this jar?" or "Can you try to open this jar?" Am I not in effect saying the same thing? It appears to me the difference in meaning is negligible.
If I change the verb try in the past:
"I tried to open the jar."
"I tried opening the jar."
Don't they both mean I was unsuccessful in my attempts to open the jar?
In any case, the next time I meet up with this construction, I would like to not have to double check in my grammar books. So any tips?