Well, try and attempt can both mean the same thing. But try can mean other things that attempt wouldn't work with. For example, try can mean to test something out or to sample something.
Same uses/ interchangeable
- I'm going to try to wake up 1 hour earlier every morning and work out.
I'm going to attempt to wake up 1 hour earlier every morning and work out.
My girlfriend is going to try to learn Spanish.
My girlfriend is going to attempt to learn Spanish.
You should try to quit smoking.
- You should attempt to quit smoking.
Non-interchangeable (when try means to sample or test something out. Usually clothing or food)
- Let me try(test out) your shirt and see if it fits.
let me attempt your shirt and see if it fits -- this just... no. This doesn't work
Would you like to try(sample) some of my baked ziti?
- Would you like to attempt some of my baked ziti? -- Icky. This doesn't work.
Now TECHNICALLY you still could rearrange those sentences and actually use attempt but it can sound either rude or just weird.
- "I'd like to try(sample) your baked ziti" - fine
- "I'd like to attempt to eat your baked ziti" - weird and awkward and rude
"I'd like to make an attempt at eating your baked ziti." - rude lol
"let me attempt to wear your shirt and see if it fits" - this is not wrong but it's just weird. No one's gonna say that lol.
So there are the differences between the two words. Try can fit wherever attempt is used, but attempt can't fit wherever try is used.
Yes, but you are going by the word (try) and not the meaning. Useful for English if that is what you are explaining (i suddenly realise!) but irrelevant to Spanish. So not attacking you Huck but general point nof meaning is paramount. **** EDIT: Can't reply to you, Huck, below so adding it here: Nicely expressed as for residual guilt - have a lingot!
hahaha @ the "I suddenly realise" bit.
No worries, I didn't feel attacked ;).
You make a very good point though. Since the person I was replying too did ask for an explanation as to the difference between the two in English for non-native speakers, I went ahead with the explanation not considering the ramification.
However, I'm in 100% agreement with you and often chime in with the same advice/warning when people get their knickers in a twist(You're British right? I nailed that one, did I not? :p ) about "why doesn't ~this translation~ work??" or "this word means this in English, therefore... yadda yadda weak rationalization."
Spanish and English are similar, but not the same. Don't get hung up on "this word gets used in English to mean this, therefore the same verb shall be used for the same scenario in Spanish." Which is decidedly not the case lol.
Any prolonged exposure with the verbs llevar, poner, tener and several other basics should make any English speaker step back and go "whoa, they just... wow, they don't express things nearly as close to ours as I thought. To have hunger? To carry hair? To put an injection? Ridiculous!"
But that's just the way it is shrug.
Kudos and cheers and all that.
Alcanzar means to catch according to my dictionary when taking about autobús, tren or ládron (thief). She tried to reach the train sounds a bit odd to me. I am not even sure what it means. It makes me think of someone trying to reach towards a train to pass something to someone through a window.
In English, to catch or not catch the train/bus/plane etc can specify a concern that you could miss it by arriving late. I'm trying to catch the train but it leaves in 10 minutes and I'm still 4 miles away. You could also just say it idiomatically. I caught the train and went to see my friend Dave.
To reach the train or to reach the train station (or any destination) would signify more that you are arriving there but without any implication of time being significant. When I reached the train station there was already a long line to buy tickets. Along the same lines as saying get to/got to.
This: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/3377/tratar-vs.-intentar may help when it comes to understanding the difference between intentar and tratar. Tratar with a preposition is essentially the same as intentar