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  1. #1
    Yoshio is offline Junior Member
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    Default learn piano or learn "the" piano

    Hello, I've got some other questions after a week.

    It's very difficult for a Japanese to tell whether I should put an article before the noun "piano" and what article to use if it is needed.

    I want somebody to check the below sentences.

    I started piano last year. (Is it OK to use "the" in this sentence?)
    I learn piano. (Is it OK to use "the" in this sentence?)

    The word "piano" used in both of the two sentences means "playing piano", not a particular piano. If so, it doesn't seem that I should use "the" before piano. Or don't they change their meaning whether "the" is put before "piano" or not?

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: learn piano or learn "the" piano

    I'd use 'the' in both of those. We often use 'the' with musical instruments- we play footbal, but play the piano, without referring to any specific instrument.

  3. #3
    Yoshio is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: learn piano or learn "the" piano

    Thank you, Tdol.

    Articles are always confusing for Japanese people because we don't have any.

    And because of that, I often suspect that there should be something difficult behind it to find nothing special.

    By the way, would you give me some examples that you don't put "the" before an instrument, say, piano?

    Thank you for your help.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: learn piano or learn "the" piano

    I can thinks of a couple of cases:

    She plays keyboards - here this refers to a number of different keyboard instruments.

    When we are thinking not of the instrument, but more as a component in a band, etc, we can say 'he play bass for xxx', though 'the' would also be fine. We could also say 'she played piano on the first track and sax on the second', and here I think it could be that the emphasis is on the sound not the instrument and, again, we could use the article.

    Also, I have seen the article omitted with some modern electronic instruments like 303s, sequencers, but this could be because you operate them more than play them.

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