He played the guitar and tennis on Sunday.

  • vvujun

    Member
    Chinese-Mainland
    I am so confused.
    Oxford dictionary said "When talking generally about playing musical instruments, the is usually used before the name of the instrument."

    • He played the trumpet in a jazz band.
    • She decided to take up the flute.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Oxford dictionary said "When talking generally about playing musical instruments, the is usually used before the name of the instrument."
    When one says usually used, it has two meanings, that you may/you may not use a the.... One has a choice, but the the form is normally used.

    GF..
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I am so confused.
    English is confusing, especially when dictionaries, even the good ones, truncate complex entries or weasel-word for the sake of space.

    For example, Google Advanced Search returns 29 million "hits" for "play guitar."

    My totally unsupported observation is that frequency of use of the definite article with "play" varies with the musical instrument involved.

    Although "play guitar" is common, I don't think anybody would say 'play Sousaphone.'
     
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