Let’s try some stuff
In English, we use the word, “try” to mean both “to try something out” and “to make an effort to do something”. In Japanese, these are separate grammatical expressions. For instance, “I tried the cherry flavor” and “I tried to do homework” mean quite different things and though English does not make a distinction, Japanese does.
To try something out
To try something out, you simply need to change the verb to the te-form and add 「みる」. If it helps you to remember, you can think of it as a sequence of an action and then seeing the result. In fact 「みる」 conjugates just like 「見る」. However, just like the 「～てほしい」 grammar we learned, this is a set phrase and 「みる」 is usually written in hiragana.
- To say you tried something out, take the action, conjugate it to the te-form and add 「みる」.
- 例） 切る → 切って → 切ってみる
- You can treat the whole result as a regular verb just as you would with 「見る」.
- 例） 切ってみる、切ってみ た、切ってみない、切ってみ なかった
（１） お好み焼きを初めて食べてみたけ ど、とてもおいしかった！
- I tried eating okonomiyaki for the first time and it was very tasty!
（２） お酒を飲んでみましたが、すごく眠 くなりました。
- I tried drinking alcohol and I became extremely sleepy.
- I’m going to check out the new department store.
（４） 広島のお好み焼きを食 べてみたい！
- I want to try eating Hiroshima okonomiyaki!
To attempt to do something
We already learned that the volitional form was used to indicate a will to set out to do something. If you guessed that this next grammar for attempting to do something would involve the volitional form, you were right. To say that you tried (as in attempted) to do something, you need to conjugate the verb into the volitional, enclose it in a quotation (so that we can perform an action on the clause) and finally add the verb 「する」. Or put more simply, you just add 「とする」 to the volitional form of the verb. This is simply an extension of the quoted subordinate clause from the last section. Instead of saying the quote （言う） or treating it as a thought （思う、考える）, we are simply doing it with 「する」.
- To say that you are attempting a certain action, convert the action to the volitional form and add 「とす る」.
- 例） 見る → 見よう → 見ようとする
- 例） 行く → 行こう → 行こうとする
（１） 毎日、勉強を避けようとす る。
- Everyday, she attempts to avoid study.
（２） 無理矢理に部屋に入ろうとし ている。
- He is attempting to force his way into the room.
- I attempted to sleep early but ended up staying up all night.
（４） お酒を飲もうとしたが、奥さ んが止めた。
- He tried to drink alcohol but his wife stopped him.
Though we use the verb 「する」 to say, “to do attempt”, we can use different verbs to do other things with the attempt. For instance, we can use the verb 「決める」 to say, “decide to attempt to do [X]“. Here are some examples of other actions carried out on the attempt.
- I thought I would attempt to avoid studying as much as possible.
（２） 毎日ジムに行こうと決 めた。
- Decided to attempt to go to gym everyday.
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This guide has been borrowed from Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese, which is not affiliated with and does not endorse The Unofficial AP* Japanese Website.