The form てみる is used to express the verb
try, in the sense of
trying to do something.
In English, when we use the verb
to try we can mean 2 different things:
Trying a new thing for the first time or without a specific goal (
I'd like to try that dish)
Make an effort to try to achieve a goal (
I'll try my best)
These two meanings are expressed by two different grammatical forms in Japanese:
When we intend to try for the first time or without a goal, we use the form てみる
When we intend to try to reach a goal, we use ようとする
Specifically てみる is used when we try to do something just to see how it is or what will happen, and also when we try to do something that we expect to have a certain result (
let's try to do this).
Although てみる simply translates to try, the literal meaning is more like let's try and see
When てみる is used in the past tense form てみた it implies that the attempt to do something was successful (unless otherwise specified)
The use of てみる does not imply any negative consequences in trying and failing
How the expression てみる is formed
To use the form てみる just conjugate the verb we "try to do" in the te form and add みる:
Examples of using てみる
Do you want to try teaching Japanese?
I'll try the new coat.
I'll think about it.
In this example we see how the meaning of
try is not always explicit in translation. The verb 考える means
to think (in the sense of
consider). Conjugated in the form てみる it expresses the meaning of
try to think about, which is then translated as
think about it, without using the word