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As far as I understand, to make an attempt and to attempt mean the same thing, but I'm pretty sure there's still a difference between them that I don't know. Does make an attempt put more emphasis on the thing you're attempting than attempt? Does a person who makes an attempt to do something imply that they're are putting more effort than someone who's just attempting to do something?

(As a side note, I think some of this also applies to other similar phrases, such as make a decision and decide, take into consideration and consider, have a reaction and react, etc.)

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  • I think it's more about time than effort: "he made an attempt" would probably refer to a single try or a try for a (short and defined) period, while "he attempted" could mean more general, intermittent or long-term, and possibly successful. For instance "He made an attempt to open the jar" would suggest that on one occasion he tried to open it, failed, and gave up, while "He attempted to open the jar" could precede him succeeding in opening it, or could refer to a long-term process with different methods of trying to get in. (I don't have any sources for this, it's just intuition.) – Stuart F Dec 23 '20 at 12:26

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