play music

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering whether the underlined part mean and whether it is idiomatic:

"Elephants are smart animals. They can play soccer or music. They can also draw very well"

Thoughts and context: It is from the article: Let's save the elephants. And it tells us how smart the elephant is.
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    When I was in grammar school we were taught that using a verb in two different meanings at the same time (e.g., "You can't break silence and a cup") was wrong. "Playing" soccer and "playing" music are quite different activities. I wouldn't write "They can play soccer or music," but others might not consider it wrong.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    When I was in grammar school we were taught that using a verb in two different meanings at the same time (e.g., "You can't break silence and a cup") was wrong. "Playing" soccer and "playing" music are quite different activities. I wouldn't write "They can play soccer or music," but others might not consider it wrong.
    If they are written separately like:

    They can play soccer or play music.

    Then what does the underlined part mean and is it idiomatic?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    To play music is to play (perform on) a musical instrument.

    It can also refer to operating a CD player or other similar appliance to listen to recorded music but that's not the meaning in this context.
    using a verb in two different meanings at the same time (e.g., "You can't break silence and a cup")
    There's a term for this but I can't remember what it is.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    As I said, it is not to my personal taste. But "play music" means to me "to produce music on an instrument." Vocal music--which elephant trumpeting might be considered--is not usually described as being "played."
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I don't think the sentence refers to elephants trumpeting. I think it means elephants can be trained to play certain musical instruments, like a drum perhaps. Too much to expect them to manage a (manmade) trumpet, I suppose but you never know.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    To play music is to play (perform on) a musical instrument.

    It can also refer to operating a CD player or other similar appliance to listen to recorded music but that's not the meaning in this context.

    There's a term for this but I can't remember what it is.
    As I said, it is not to my personal taste. But "play music" means to me "to produce music on an instrument." Vocal music--which elephant trumpeting might be considered--is not usually described as being "played."
    I don't think the sentence refers to elephants trumpeting. I think it means elephants can be trained to play certain musical instruments, like a drum perhaps. Too much to expect them to manage a (manmade) trumpet, I suppose but you never know.
    Got it. Thank you very much.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top