Let's say there is an atmospheric condition where the water in a bucket partially freezes then reverts back to a completely liquid state and vacillates back and forth but never actually freezes. Is the following sentence grammatically incorrect? "the water in the bucket is trying to freeze".
Someone I am debating claims that it is incorrect because an inanimate object can't "try". They say that "tend" should be used instead. I argue that tend isn't the perfect word to use because it implies a likelyhood or a certain outcome- eg "water tends to freeze at 31.9 degrees but not at 32.1".
I would never use try in a sentence like "thunderstorms try to produce heavy rain". They obviously "tend to produce heavy rain". For some reason, however, I find "the water in the bucket is trying to freeze" much more logical in this case than "the water in the bucket is tending to freeze". I would use the latter phrase if the water was freezing or mostly frozen, but not if it was staying liquid with brief forays into a crystal state.