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Even though she is angry, you should try _______ (talk) to her

In the question above I need to decide whether I should use talking, the gerund-participle, or to talk, a to-infinitive.

I’m confused since I don’t know whether this is basically a piece of advice about how to achieve something and I should go with talking or if try here means 'make an effort' and I should go with to talk.

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    This is a confusing question. It's not clear what alternatives you are chosing between or what the rationale for each is. – DJClayworth Jun 20 '19 at 23:59
  • Sorry, so my task was to recognise and put on the line either the gerund or the infinitive of the verb so the sentence is correct. I hope you get it now. – jedians Jun 21 '19 at 0:23
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    The correct answer has already been posted: both the gerund and to-infinitive are valid. I don't see any point in re-opening this question, since my view is that it should have been closed for a different reason: "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic." – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Jun 21 '19 at 9:22
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    @Araucaria the rule itself is well-explained here and also on ELL (for example here), but the issue is whether the scant information we've been provided is sufficient to judge whether "try" should here be interpreted as test (a method), or attempt (i.e. make an effort). I think both are equally valid interpretations, so the gerund and to-infinitive are equally valid solutions. You might be overthinking it. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Jun 22 '19 at 2:28
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    @Araucaria see also this one and this, both on ELL. An internet search for "try with gerund and infinitive" brings up many other commonly-available resources. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Jun 22 '19 at 2:55
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You're quite right. Both to talk and talking are possible, valid options here. Good catch.


Edit: About the difference in meaning, I think it boils down to the difference between two meanings of to try. This is something I'm quite aware of because each gets expressed with a different word in my other primary language, Spanish.

  1. try = probar: try something out. Try (gerund). Here one's approach is experimental. You give something a try, and maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. That is what is meant by try talking to her. Maybe the two of you will reach a solution together. Another example:

    "What should I say to the judge?"

    "Try telling the truth. He may be impressed with your honesty."

  2. try to = intentar: attempt. Try (infinitive). Here, we don't know if she will be willing to talk to us. The sentence says, "Attempt to talk to her." But maybe she'll refuse to talk at all. Another example:

    "Try to relax. Remember, all you need to get on this test is a passing grade, which is a 65%."

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  • Hmmmm. This answer doesn't help explain what the difference in meaning is. There is only one sensible answer if we do not assume some previously established ulterior motive for talking to her. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 21 '19 at 10:37
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    @Araucaria - I've broken down the difference in meaning. But to me, both answers are equally sensible or "correct." There must be something you see that I don't see yet. – aparente001 Jun 21 '19 at 21:43
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    @Araucaria I have to agree with aparente001 here. I can, if I choose, make the two mean different things (with one more likely than the other), but they can also be interpreted to mean precisely the same thing (“you should attempt to use this method: talk to her”). No ulterior motive necessary at all to me. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 21 '19 at 23:11
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Try this method to do what? – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 22 '19 at 9:00
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    @Araucaria Well, to do whatever the object of talking to her (whoever she is) may be. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 22 '19 at 9:06

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