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"Its network and the patience of its customers strained to the breaking point, the on-line service company announced a series of new initiatives that try to relieve congestion."

Apparently, it is more correct to say "...new initiatives to try to relieve congestion".

Why can I use the present tense of try when I use the word "to", but can't use it if I use the word "that"? Also what else is wrong with using the word "that" here?

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  • There is nothing syntactically wrong with "that try", but semantically is suggests that the initiatives are already in place -- already "trying". Using "to try" makes the chronology a bit looser, better suiting the situation where the initiatives have just been announced.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 7, 2017 at 20:32

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In the first sentence it is implied that an inanimate object, an 'initiative', is capable of effecting something animate, that is, trying to do something.

In the second sentence, it is 'the on-line service company' which makes an announcement [in order] to try to do something.

'That' identifies 'new initiatives' not the company.

The initiative comes into existence within persons, but grammatically it has to be considered as a thing. The company is an entity that consists of living persons.

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