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August 1, 2013
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All the back and forth here has just reaffirmed what I thought was true.
"Try and " is a colloquial use. It's acceptable in speech and informal writing. It may be part of common usage but it is not strictly correct.
"Try to" is always safe, regardless of how pedantic a grammarian is. In writing, try to use that form instead, unless the goal is to sound more informal.
John makes many excellent points about the development of English. Usage does define a language to a point, once that usage is academically agreed upon. As you pointed out, however, this is an "accepted idiom." All of the examples from literature you provided are from either a first-person narrator or a direct quote from a character. In these cases, a colloquialism or idiom is allowed, especially from a master writer like those above. Great writers break the rules all the time; it's part of what makes them great. For the rest of us, it's probably better to follow the rules.
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