Her hobby is <to play>/<playing> the piano

lightheart

Senior Member
Sichuan,China-Chinese
Sample test:
Her hobby is ( ) the piano.
A. playing
B. to play

Question:
The given key is A, and could you please tell me why B is wrong?

Thanks if you would help : )
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    After to be, the infinitive indicates something in the future, and is used with subjects that point towards the future (even though the subject and verb may be set in the present), whereas a gerund is used for timeless situations or repeated actions, with its time taken from the verb tense:
    Her wish is to go to Paris [in the future]​
    Her love is going to Paris [in the present]​
    Her love was going to Paris [in the past]​
     

    lightheart

    Senior Member
    Sichuan,China-Chinese
    After to be, the infinitive indicates something in the future, and is used with subjects that point towards the future (even though the subject and verb may be set in the present), whereas a gerund is used for timeless situations or repeated actions, with its time taken from the verb tense:
    Her wish is to go to Paris [in the future]​
    Her love is going to Paris [in the present]​
    Her love was going to Paris [in the past]​
    So basically “playing” is much better here because a hobby is usually something done frequently or at least ever done before, though “to play” isn’t itself ungrammatical, right?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    So basically “playing” is much better here because a hobby is usually something done frequently or at least ever done before, though “to play” isn’t itself ungrammatical, right?
    It fits, grammatically, but meaning and usage are at least as important as grammar in English, and the answer key is undoubtedly correct.
     
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