Exercice de Style:


Reading Tony Judt’s Postwar, I was surprised, given the excellence of the prose, to come across the solecism “to try and [infintive].” Such usage has no place in expository prose.

There is certainly a place for the phrase, but it is limited to informal speech. When we say, “I’m going to try and get to the museum this weekend,” we don’t mean that we’re going to try to get to the museum. We mean that we’re going to see what happens and to do our best. In a history text, the phrase is luridly shambolic. Tut!

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