てみる / ようとする Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 2)
Essential Meaning: Try and do X / Do X and see what happens / Make an attempt at X / Try one’s hand at X
- Verb て-Form + みる
- E.g. 話してみる [Try and speak]
- E.g. 食べてみる [Try and eat]
- てみる is a very common auxiliary verb that conveys the idea of performing an action on a trial basis to see whether or not the outcome is favorable. For example, if you’ve never tried sushi before, the only way to discover whether or not you’ll like it is to trying eating some. In Japanese, you can express this with すしを食べてみる [Try eating sushi]. Similarly, if one tries his or her hand at owning a pet dog, this can be expressed as 犬を飼ってみる [Try one’s hand at owning a dog].
- ようとする is a similar expression that means “Try to do X“. In the present tense, ようとする and てみる mean essentially the same thing. However, in the past tense ようとする implies that the agent was unsuccessful in whatever action he or she tried. てみる does not carry such an implication.
- E.g. ブラウンさんはトムのシャツを着てみた。[Mr. Brown tried Tom’s shirt on.] てみた simply indicates that Mr. Brown tried Tom’s shirt on at some point in the past.
- E.g. ブラウンさんはトムのシャツを着ようとした。[Mr. Brown attempted (and failed) to put Tom’s shirt on.] ようとした implies that Mr. Brown failed in his attempt to put Tom’s shirt on.
私は日本の小説を読んでみる。[I will try reading a Japanese novel.]
面白そうなコンサートだったので行ってみました。[Because the concert seemed interesting, I went to check it out.]
ここの刺身はおいしいですよ。食べてみますか。[This sashimi is good. Will you try it?]
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