Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 09:08:34 -0700 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: Variation in "try"-complements? On Fri, 11 Apr 1997, David A. Johns wrote: > At 10:53 PM 4/10/97 +0000, Bill Spruiell wrote: > > > However, when I got to the class of verb > >constructions that change meaning depending on whether the object is > >an infinitive or gerund ("forgot to lock the door" vs. "forgot > >locking the door"), I got a surprise. None of my students could > >detect any difference between "tried opening the door" and "tried to open > >the door", even when I supplied extensive contexts, different > >verbals, etc. > > I don't get "forgot locking the door" at all -- can't imagine what it means. > With _try_, I sense an aspectual difference that has pragmatic consequences > in certain contexts: "Would you try to open the door" implies that I think > it will be hard, while "Would you try opening the door" suggests that I want > to see if it has some effect, such as cooling the house down. But I don't > feel any difference in "He walked up onto the porch and tried [to open | > opening] the door, but when he found it was locked, turned around and left." Ditto from Oregon. This describes my usage exactly. I haven't lived in Oregon all my life (though my growing up was here and in S. California), but I'm fairly sure I would have noticed any variation from my own usage in this matter. Peter McGraw Linfield College McMinnville, OR > > I don't think I've noticed any unfamiliar gerunds since being in Georgia, > although I may have lost them in the sea of unexpected progressives ("I'm > needing a new notebook," etc.). I'll have to listen. > > David Johns > Waycross College > Waycross, GA > (originally from real Yankee country, though not a real Yankee myself, since > my family hadn't lived there for umpteen generations. And weren't farmers. > But we did eat "rat cheese" with apple pie.) >