57 - Try Doing VS Try to Do

When I was growing up, I was the pickiest eater in the world.

Or top five, at least.

I'm pretty sure my friends' moms hated me, because I wouldn't eat anything they cooked.

In time, it started to get kind of embarrassing.

When you don't like food other people like, it can hurt their feelings... or that's how they make you feel, at least.

It's different if you're a vegetarian, for example. Or vegan. Or if you only eat halal food. These are principles (i.e. good excuses).

Much better than the excuse, "Uh, I don't like that."

So as I got a bit older, I decided: I'm going to like more foods.

And I started trying everything.

Also, I started trying to eat foods I didn't like more often.

As such--



How do you say these two sentences in Japanese:

1) Try (eating) this.
2) I'm trying to eat this.

...?!?!?!?!?!

The answers...

Well, if we can agree to pretend that there is only one viable translation for each of these sentences, which is pretty much never true when dealing with English-Japanese translations...

Anyways...

The answers...

Are...

1) Try (eating) this.
これ食べてみて。
kore tabete mite.
(Literally: "this + eat and + see.")
(Note: The nuance is that I [the speaker] want you [the listener] to taste this food.)

2) I'm trying to eat this.
これ食べようとしてる。
kore tabeyou to shiteru.
(Literally: "this + let's eat + と + am doing.")
(Note: The nuance is that I am having difficulty eating this food--maybe I think it's gross, but healthy. Or maybe my tooth hurts, so it's hard to eat, for example.)


Ultra Compact Grammar Rules

We say "Te-Form + みる" for "try VERB-ing."

We say "Volitional Form + とする" for "try to VERB."

If you're not sure about these verb forms, then some old lessons might help... We already say ~てみる in the form of ~てみたい back in Lesson #53. We also went to town on volitional verbs in Lesson #54 and Lesson #55.


Enlightening Examples

Let's say you're walking along in the woods, being a total bad-ass like usual.

Suddenly you come across a mountain.

You might say...



登ってみる。
nobotte miru.
I'm gonna try climbing it.
(Literally: "climb and + see.")

Now, this is different than what happens 30-minutes later.

You're climbing.

Getting tired.

Regretting the decision.

Then your friend floats up next to you on his new super-drone, and he's like, "Hey, what are you doing?"

You say...



登ろうとしてる。
noborou to shiteru.
I'm trying to climb.
(Literally: "let's climb + と + am doing.")

Also--



Match the following sentence halves in the most natural way:

Front Halves
1) 読んでみたけど
2) 読もうとしたけど
3) 作ってみたけど
4) 作ろうとしたけど

End Halves
A) 材料が足りなかった
B) つまんなかった
C) 難しくて読めなかった
D) うまくできなかった

Hint #1 - 読み方 (yomikata; "readings")

Front Halves
1) 読んでみたけど
yonde mita kedo
2) 読もうとしたけど
yomou to shita kedo
3) 作ってみたけど
tsukutte mita kedo
4) 作ろうとしたけど
tsukurou to shita kedo

End Halves
A) 材料が足りなかった
zairyou ga tarinakatta
B) つまんなかった
tsumannakatta
C) 難しくて読めなかった
muzukashikute yomenakatta
D) うまくできなかった
umaku dekinakatta

Hint #2 - Word Meanings

Front Halves
1) 読んでみたけど
yonde mita kedo
read + saw + but
2) 読もうとしたけど
yomou to shita kedo
read + と + did + but
3) 作ってみたけど
tsukutte mita kedo
make/cook + saw + but
4) 作ろうとしたけど
tsukurou to shita kedo
make/cook + と + did + but

End Halves
A) 材料が足りなかった
zairyou ga tarinakatta
ingredients + が + was not sufficient
B) つまんなかった
tsumannakatta
was boring
C) 難しくて読めなかった
muzukashikute yomenakatta
difficult and + could not read
D) うまくできなかった
umaku dekinakatta
skillfully/well + could not do/make

Still too hard?

Sorry.

_(-_-)_

Here are the most natural formations:

1-B) 読んでみたけどつまんなかった
yonde mita kedo tsumannakatta
I tried reading it, but it was boring.
(Note: The nuance is that I started reading it, then found the book was boring. I "tasted" the book, so to speak, "gave it a try." So we use ~てみる.)

2-C) 読もうとしたけど難しくて読めなかった
yomou to shita kedo muzukashikute yomenakatta
I tried to read it, but it was too difficult.
(Note: The nuance is that I tried and failed to read the book. Unlike the previous sentence, I had no choice but to give up on this book.)

3-D) 作ってみたけどうまくできなかった
tsukutte mita kedo umaku dekinakatta
I tried making it, but it didn't come out well.
(Note: The nuance is that I did in fact make something, but I didn't do a very good job.)

4-A) 作ろうとしたけど材料が足りなかった
tsukurou to shita kedo zairyou ga tarinakatta
I tried to make it, but I didn't have enough ingredients.
(Note: The nuance is that I never succeeded in making the food. I tried and failed.)


Secret Hint

We don't use ~ようとした, "tried to do," with things that we succeeded at.

So, if the する is in the past tense, it will be a failed action:

やろうとしたけど出来なかった。
yarou to shita kedo dekinakatta.
I tried to do it, but I couldn't.

吐こうとしたけど吐けなかった。
hakou to shita kedo hakenakatta.
I tried to throw up, but I couldn't.

立とうとしたけど立てなかった。
tatou to shita kedo tatenakatta.
He tried to stand, but he couldn't.

This is why you see it quite often in the present progressive tense, "is trying to do:"

早寝早起きしようとしてる。
hayane hayaoki shiyou to shiteru.
I've been trying to go to bed early and get up early.


One Last Level-Up

When you're telling someone to try something, you can say ~てみて.

Or, in casual situations, you can also just say ~てみ.

Like this:



飲んでみ
nonde mi
Try it.
(Literally: "drink and + み.")

Hopefully today's format wasn't too confusing ^_^

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