January 5


Learn How to Talk About Challenges and Solutions: Try to do something vs. Try doing something – Podcast


Hi everyone, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for learners of English who want become the best version of themselves.

I’m Kristian, your host, and in this episode we’re talking about the difference between ‘try to do’ and ‘try doing’.

Now, this is important when you’re talking about challenges and solutions. Whether it’s in your exam or in your daily life, you don’t want to mix these two up.

What’s the difference then?

Try to do it = the action itself is the challenge. (I’m going to try to stop smoking.)

Try doing it = the action is a solution to another problem. (Try reading this great blog article on how to stop smoking)

Let’s look at some more examples. We’ll start with the world’s favorite new year’s resolution:

“I’m going to try to lose weight. Do you have any ideas?” 

Here are some solutions:

“Try cutting carbs from your diet, that might help.”

“Try doing more exercise, that could help.”

“Try eating less in the evenings.”

Let’s looks at another example. Here’s the challenge:

“I’m going to try to sleep better at night. Any tips?”

“Try drinking some warm milk, works for me.”

“Try counting sheep.”

“Try drinking some wine!”

It’s not difficult, but you have to know it and practice with loads of examples in order to never forget it. 

To help you, here are some more challenges:

“I’m going to try to make more podcasts without scripts in 2021.”

“I’m going to try to pass the Cambridge C2 exam.”

And using the past simple we can say:

“I tried to call him but I couldn’t get through.”

“The doctors tried to save her life but it was impossible.”

One final remark:

Often “try to do” is said “try and do” in British English. For example:

“I’m going to try AND make more podcasts without scripts in 2021.”

“You’re going to try and pass the Cambridge C2 exam.”

That’s all folks. Did you get it? I think you got it.

But if not, no worries. You can listen to this episode again while reading the transcript on my website.

All right, that’s all for today. If you have any questions, do send me an email or write a comment on the blog. I’m more that happy to help you!  

Oh, one more thing:

Plenty more episodes of the podcasts are coming. I just need to get into the groove again. I kind of underestimated how much time I’d be spending on all the other stuff.

I’m not complaining, just explaining.

I need to teach, build the blog, create content for the mailing list, and – last but not least – I need to dive into the Facebook groups that are focused on the Cambridge C2 exam to find out how I can help people like you in the best way possible.

I’ll tell you much more about all these things in future episodes of the podcast.

For now, I just want to wish you a very pleasant day. 

Take care of yourself, and each other, alright?

Speak soon, bye bye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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