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I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb:

  • Here try this and tell me if you like it.
  • I tried koregusu once but I didn't like it.
  • You don't have to eat it but at least try it.
  • I like spicy food so I really want to try taka-no-tsume.
  • You can't say you don't like tequila if you never even tried a good one!

Non-food/drink examples:

  • Did you ever try scuba diving?
  • I tried hitchhiking once but I prefer to travel by bicycle.

I'm having trouble finding a word, phrase, or pattern, to express this sense of try.(I know it overlaps with the other senses of try in English.)

These are the closest Japanese terms I could find. Do they do the job?

  • 味わう
  • 嘗める
  • 試す
  • 味見する
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3  
are you looking for something that isn't just ~てみる? –  ssb Apr 2 at 10:38
    
I don't know. ~てみる didn't show up in the dictionaries I looked in or when I quizzed the Japanese around me. –  hippietrail Apr 2 at 10:48

4 Answers 4

I think the most universal way of expressing trying is using て-form of a verb followed by みる. For example:

電話してみるよ。
I will try calling you.

お好み焼きを食べてみたい。
I want to try eating okonomiyaki.

In addition, what you can express in English as "try" as in "have you tried?" is sometimes asking about past experience and can be expressed in Japanese as た-form of a verb plus ことがある.

お好み焼きを食べたことがありますか。
Have you tried okonomiyaki?

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Is this みる related to 見る? I recently learned that when words gain grammatical / auxiliary functions that those will be written only in hiragana. –  hippietrail Apr 2 at 10:54
2  
You may think about "try" as "do something and see how it goes". Yes, this is an auxiliary usage and is written in hiragana. –  Szymon Apr 2 at 10:56
    
Yes in English we even say "try and see". –  hippietrail Apr 2 at 10:59
1  
Was going to say 食べたことある, but it seems this answer's got that covered. –  Kaji Apr 2 at 12:28

My Japanese is generally informal (among family), and my answers reflect that.

  • Here try this and tell me if you like it. -> これ好きじゃないか食べてみて。

  • I tried koregusu once but I didn't like it. (Am I right to guess that the "koregusu" is the drink from Okinawa?) -> コーレーグスを飲んでみたけど好きじゃなかった。

  • You don't have to eat it but at least try it. -> 食べなくてもいいけど試してみて。

  • I like spicy food so I really want to try taka-no-tsume. -> 辛い物好きだから鷹の爪試してみたい。 (or ...食べてみたい)

  • You can't say you don't like tequila if you never even tried a good one! -> 美味しいテキーラを飲んでみないと好きじゃないか分からないじゃん。

Non-food/drink examples:

  • Did you ever try scuba diving? -> スクーバやった事ある?

  • I tried hitchhiking once but I prefer to travel by bicycle. -> ヒッチハイクしてみたけど自転車で動く方がまし。

味わう -> means more "to savor, to enjoy".

嘗める -> means just "to lick".

試す -> means "to try something out"

味見する -> means "to taste something for quality". I frequently 「味見する」when I am cooking to see how it tastes. I jokingly 「毒見」 when my mom cooks (she is a VERY good cook... it's just an excuse to eat before the meal.)

Again, my use of Japanese is generally informal, so please keep that in mind when considering the translations.

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Perfect answer! Just what the OP was looking for (じゃないか) –  Tim May 30 at 14:35

My sense could be wrong, and I'm sure I'll be told if it is so, but I don't think those words (with one exception) are useful for what you want as in "to try":

  • 味わう = literally to taste the flavor of something as in while you are cooking
  • 嘗める = to lick something -- also a term for when someone is trying to mess with you.
  • 試す = to test something
  • 味見 = to taste as in like a sommelier.

I am going to suggest a different tack instead -- use the helping verb construction of てみる which means to try or 試してみる

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  • Here try this and tell me if you like it.

    食べてみて。。。。

  • You don't have to eat it but at least try it.

    食べなくていいし、ちょっと味だけ見て。 (Thanks Chocolate)

  • I like spicy food so I really want to try taka-no-tsume.

    食べてみたい

  • You can't say you don't like tequila if you never even tried a good one!

    いいテキーラを飲んでみたことがないから。。。

  • Did you ever try scuba diving?

    したことがあるか?

  • I tried hitchhiking once but I prefer to travel by bicycle.

    一回したことがあるけど。。。。

In Japanese the nuance of saying "have you tried" is largely just replaced with ことがありますか? Which is the default way to ask if someone has an experience of doing something in the past.

In English we are not really asking if the person has 'tried' something, of course they probably didn't fail at doing it. So its kind of nuance in English.

Times to use みたい in Japanese are basically just when you are saying you want to try something, if you really want to ask 'Have you tried...' you can say 。。。してみたことがありますか to people.

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1  
"Have you tried? = なになにみたい?" ???? "koreguseをしたことがあったけど"... ? What does "koreguseをする" mean? –  Choko Apr 5 at 6:17
    
I simply wrote that because the original question included the word koreguse and I have no idea what that means, I'll remove it from my examples. なになにみたい I'm not sure if you knew なになに just means 'something something' since my English translation was just 'Have you tried (..../somethingsomething’ =  (。。。/なになに)してまたい。 –  Worthy7 Apr 5 at 9:52
    
How have I been given -16 points for this one post... –  Worthy7 Apr 5 at 11:16
    
I have updated my post and removed the bad example, I believe Szymon is correct except for missing the ~してみったことがありますか case. –  Worthy7 Apr 5 at 12:04
1  
ちょっと食べていい almost always means "Is it okay if I have a little?", or a pretty unnatural way to say "It's okay if you have a little.", but definitely not "You don't have to eat it but at least try it." –  Darius Jahandarie Apr 5 at 13:47

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