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 when 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
So if I ask: "Can you try opening this jar?." and "Can you try to open this jar?." Am I in effect saying the same thing? It appears to me the difference in meaning is slight.
If I change the verb try into the past:
"I tried to open the jar."
"I tried opening the jar."
Don't they both mean I failed to open the jar?
In any case the next time I meet this construction I would like to not have to double check in my grammar books. So any tips?