Why do you like flute but not saxophone?

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Vibrato

Banned
Greek
Hello everyone. Can I say either of these interchangeably: "Why do you like flute but not saxophone?" and "Why do you like flute but you don't like saxophone?" What I try to mean is: let's say there is someone who likes flute but who doesn't like saxophone. I am trying to ask him or her why that is.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s not usual to put it the second way. Just using “not” is more idiomatic. But I would have expected a definite article before each instrument.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    It’s not usual to put it the second way. Just using “not” is more idiomatic. But I would have expected a definite article before each instrument.
    Thanks. But is that sentence you called less idiomatic grammatical though? Also, can that structure be used by native English speakers?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, I wouldn’t describe it as grammatical. It’s the conjunction (but) that doesn’t work in that construction, for some reason. Others do work, but they change the meaning.

    I like the flute but I don't like the saxophone.
    Why do you like the flute but you don't like the saxophone? :thumbsdown:
    Why do you like the flute if/when/even though you don't like the saxophone? :tick:
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    No, I wouldn’t describe it as grammatical. It’s the conjunction (but) that doesn’t work in that construction, for some reason. Others do work, but they change the meaning.

    I like the flute but I don't like the saxophone.
    Why do you like the flute but you don't like the saxophone? :thumbsdown:
    Why do you like the flute if/when/even though you don't like the saxophone? :tick:
    And:
    Why do you like the flute but not the saxophone? :tick:
    Thanks. Isn't there any alternative sentence to that which begins with "Why do you like the flute but"?
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    Yes, it matters. The lack of an article might make sense if you were speaking of classes in a music school, but not in the context you want. Note that you can omit the article if you make the instruments plural: Why do you like flutes, but not saxophones?
    I feel like I am familiar with the usage of instruments without the word "the". Why do I need to use the article despite thw fact that I am not talking about a particular instrument? This is off topic but for example "Do you play guitar?" sounds right to me unlike "Do you play the guitar?" I think "Do you play the guitar" would be said in a situation, say, for example when there is a guitar in a room and you wonder if the person you asked the question of plays that guitar.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Isn't there any alternative sentence to that which begins with "Why do you like the flute but"?
    If you really wanted to, you could repeat the verb: Why do you like the flute but not [like] the saxophone?

    Or you could use a negative verb: Why do you like the flute but dislike the saxophone?

    But this is really the only construction that works — where the subject (you) only needs to be stated once.
    "Do you play guitar?" sounds right to me unlike "Do you play the guitar?" I think "Do you play the guitar" would be said in a situation, say, for example when there is a guitar in a room and you wonder if the person you asked the question of plays that guitar.
    That’s not true. Even though guitar may be an exception in this regard, as a rule if you’re asking whether someone plays an instrument, you phrase it as “Do you play the piano/harpsichord/drums/clarinet/trombone? etc.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I feel like I am familiar with the usage of instruments without the word "the". Why do I need to use the article despite thw fact that I am not talking about a particular instrument? This is off topic but for example "Do you play guitar?" sounds right to me unlike "Do you play the guitar?" I think "Do you play the guitar" would be said in a situation, say, for example when there is a guitar in a room and you wonder if the person you asked the question of plays that guitar.
    There's a difference between British English and American English when talking about playing a musical instrument.
    Standard British English uses the definite article.

    It's very possible that not using the definite article is more familiar to you because of the strong American influence in pop music.

    The part of the quote I have 'stricken' isn't idiomatic in the situation you describe, at least not from a BrE perspective. We would use 'that guitar (over there)'.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    There's a difference between British English and American English when talking about playing a musical instrument.
    Standard British English uses the definite article.

    It's very possible that not using the definite article is more familiar to you because of the strong American influence in pop music.

    The part of the quote I have 'stricken' isn't idiomatic in the situation you describe, at least not from a BrE perspective. We would use 'that guitar (over there)'.
    At least %95 of the time, I listen to Americans and I have been learning American English - American pronunciations for a quite long time.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    If you really wanted to, you could repeat the verb: Why do you like the flute but not [like] the saxophone?

    Or you could use a negative verb: Why do you like the flute but dislike the saxophone?

    But this is really the only construction that works — where the subject (you) only needs to be stated once.

    That’s not true. Even though guitar may be an exception in this regard, as a rule if you’re asking whether someone plays an instrument, you phrase it as “Do you play the piano/harpsichord/drums/clarinet/trombone? etc.
    I can also say "Why do you like the flute but you dislike the saxophone?" as far as I know. Is what I know wrong? Maybe there is a difference in terms of this subject between British English and American English.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    That repetition of “you” is redundant/wrong. I don’t know any way of justifying it.
    I don't understand why it is wrong to say "Why do you like the flute but you dislike the saxophone?" while we can say "You like flute but you dislike saxophone."
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You like flute but you dislike saxophone. :tick:

    Likewise, when framed as a question, the construction (“why A but B?”) requires the style of the two parts to match:

    Why do you like the flute but [do] you dislike the saxophone? :cross:
    Why is it that you like the flute but you dislike the saxophone? :tick:
     
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