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  1. #1
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default I know how to play / blow a flute.

    I know how to play a flute.

    Would it be wrong if I used 'blow' instead of 'play'?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Dangerous!

  3. #3
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Totally wrong.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Apart from anything else, one does not blow a flute. One blows across the mouthpiece using "embouchure". Stick with "I know how to play the flute".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  5. #5
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    What about 'trumpet'? Is it the same?

    I play the trumpet.

    Using 'blow' is dangerous too, I assume.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Stick with "I know how to play the flute".

    I was going to comment on this. Should it not say 'the' instead of 'a'?
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    We generally use "the" when talking about the ability to play a musical instrument.

    I can play the flute.
    I play the guitar.
    He plays the piano.

    Some people omit the article completely.

    As far as the original question goes, I would avoid using "to blow" when talking generally about musical instruments. Even though that is how some of them are played, we don't use it that way very often.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    We generally use "the" when talking about the ability to play a musical instrument.

    I can play the flute.
    I play the guitar.
    He plays the piano.
    I was thinking more of removing 'the' and using 'a', because to me, in some cases, 'the' sounds like they are referring to a specific flute/guitar/piano.
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  9. #9
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    The common idiom 'blow your own trumpet' has made 'blow the trumpet' sound acceptable as an alternative to 'play the trumpet'.

    There's also a Christmas song called 'Blow the trumpet and bang the drum'.

    Rover

  10. #10
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: I know how to play / blow a flute.

    Yes - 'blow' is fine for 'trumpet'; it can be used for unskilful playing (though that's not the only use). But for a flute it would only work if you had a number of flutes hung up like wind-chimes.

    (And, Rover, I see your Christmas song and raise you the Chorus of Peers in Iolanthe - 'Blow the trumpet bang the brasses' - an odd thing to bang, but WSG wanted a rhyme for 'lower-middle classes')

    b

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