I am a horrible speller and my grammar is not much better but there is one little grammar rule that really irks me, and I've seen a lot of it recently. I noticed it used a lot while reading Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 by O. Edward Cunningham (edited by Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith). I've noticed it in of other books recently too, Cunningham's is just the first example that springs to mind because it was the book I most recently finished reading.
It's the use of "try and." As in "Bragg needed to try and take the Sunken Road position." It really should be "Bragg needed to try to take the Sunken Road position." The first sentence indicates that Bragg was going to try to do something and that he was going to do the same thing. If that's the case just say that you are going to do the something. This is probably the only grammar lesson that has stuck with me over the years.
I hear it everyday in conversations and it doesn't bother me but I find it annoying to read. When I see it I can be pretty sure that the copy editor used was not first rate. If the publisher skimped here, did they also skimp in the peer review process?
I find it so annoying to read that I have actually stopped reading some books that use it a lot. One in particular was a Revolutionary War overview that seemed to have a good amount of information. But "try and" was used all the time and it got so annoying that I put the book away. I'll probably never finish the book and since then I've been leery of that publisher (I've seen it in other books from that publisher too which makes me wonder what sort of copy editing process they use.)
Sorry for the rant. It was just bothering me. I'll try to not let it get to me as much in the future.
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