Is given sentence correct?

"I tried my best to convince her but failed."

In some book, I read we use first form of verb after but. So the sentence given above is correct, or not?

  • You need a comma after 'her' – JonMark Perry May 17 '17 at 5:09

Short story: It is correct.

In English, we often eliminate repeated parts of parallel constructions. That is, you wouldn't say I like apples and I like pears and I like watermelon; instead, you would likely say I like apples, pears, and watermelon. The I like part is assumed for the pears and watermelon.

Let's break down your sentence to see what we've got.

   I tried my best to convince her but failed.
   |   |   '-----' '-------------'  |    |
   |   |      |           |         |    |  
   |  Verb  Adverb  Prepositional   |  Second 
Subject     Phrase      Phrase      |   Verb

The first part -- I tried my best to convince her -- has a subject and verb (I tried), along with an adverbial phrase (my best which answers the question how did you try?) and prepositional phrase (what did you try? to convince her). We can get rid of those last two bits as they just provide some additional info. So we're left with I tried.

Now lets add back the conjunction and second verb: I tried but failed. Here, it's clearer that the subject, I, applies to both verbs. (If it's still unclear, try swapping conjunctions: I tried and failed.) This is a more succinct version of I tried but I failed.

When in doubt, try it without the optional parts and see what you think is correct.

Hope this helps!

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