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play piano VS. play the piano

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

I've often heard Americans say "I play piano." without "the".
Do most American people usually say like that?

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 

Julie.chan

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I'd say both equally. Omitting the "the" is just a shortened way of saying it. I don't know if it's proper, but it's common.
 

Julie.chan

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That's a discussion about which article to use, not whether or not an article has to be used at all. Omitting it entirely is equivalent to using a definite article.
 

mdchachi

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Dear native English speakers,

I've often heard Americans say "I play piano." without "the".
Do most American people usually say like that?
Yes, both are fine but I think without "the" is probably more common. Plus it is a better pattern to teach your students because you can't use "the" in other situations like:

I play video games.
I play tennis.
 

Julie.chan

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Both of those are formulated that way for very specific reason: "video games" is plural, and "Tennis" is a proper noun. So I can't say I agree with your reasoning. There are instances where omitting "the" in a situation like this doesn't work very well, like the word "flute". I'd say using "the" is probably the more conservative version, it's just that not using it is fine too.
 

mdchachi

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I don't think there's a problem with saying "I play flute."
 
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