# [General]Which one is natural, "play" or "playing"?

Status
Not open for further replies.

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Hello there. In the following sentence, I think it is natural to fill in "play" to complete the sentence.
He says that learning to read music and ________(play) keyboard is like learning maths formulas.
What do you think? Is there any alternative to make it sense? What about "playing"? Much appreciated if you can help.

#### tzfujimino

##### Key Member
It should be "play", not "playing", in my opinion.

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Thank you for your time. Could you please elaborate it a bit more?
The sentence comes from the following source:
CHARACTERS—Max and Emma

SCENE 1—Dining hall, Sunville Middle School

EMMA: Max! Hi! Mr. Sosa says our band can play in the talent show!
MAX: Cool! I’ll tell Felipe to meet us in the music room after school for a practice.
EMMA: Umm. I wonder if it’s a good idea to have Felipe in our hand …
MAX: (With his mouth open) Of course it is! He’s really good at the keyboard.
EMMA: Really? He seems more interested in maths than anything else.

MAX: Well, he says maths and music are connected. He says that learning to read music and playing keyboard is like learning maths formulas.
EMMA: Then I’m sure he’s good at music, too. With Felipe on keyboard, we’ll really have an
edge over the other groups.

So why "playing" is used here in the underline sentence? Also, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard is like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar? Many thanks in advance.

#### tzfujimino

##### Key Member
1. Learning to read music and playing keyboard are ...
=Doing A and doing B are ...

2. Learning to read music and (to) play keyboard is ...
=Doing A and B is ...

When I first read your original post, I read the sentence to mean "Learning A and B is like learning C."

What do you think?

#### andrewg927

##### Senior Member
Thank you for your time. Could you please elaborate it a bit more?
The sentence comes from the following source:

So why "playing" is used here in the underline sentence? Also, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard is like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar? Many thanks in advance.

Does this come from a Chinese school's English exam?

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Yes, can you help explain the difference between them or which one is wrong in this case? The truth is that one of my students asked this question and I don't know how to answer it. So I hope someone can solve my puzzle here.

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Thank you for your help. You mean that "play" is the right choice here and the sentence in the original text is wrong. Is that so? What's more, if I use "playing" here, I should say:He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas. Am I right? Finnally, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar?

Last edited:

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us
So why is "playing" [STRIKE]is[/STRIKE] used here in the underline​d sentence?
See above. Always remember to invert the subject and verb when asking a question.

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Thank you for your correction. Can you help me solve my puzzle?

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Now, my puzzle is whether the sentence "He says that learning to read music and playing keyboard is like learning maths formulas." in the original source is acceptable or not.
Oh, by the way, though it may be grammatically correct, is the sentence "
He says that learning to read music and playing keyboard are like learning maths formulas." natural? Finally, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar?

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us
Now, my puzzle is whether the sentence "He says that learning to read music and playing keyboard is like learning maths formulas." in the original source is acceptable or not. I don't think so.
Oh, by the way, though it may be grammatically correct, is the sentence "
He says that learning to read music and playing keyboard are like learning maths formulas." natural? No. "Playing" isn't a comparable process to learning something. It may be complementary, but the sentence doesn't say that.

Finally, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar? It's grammatically correct but not logical.
The problem with all three sentences is that the first two suggestions should be similar to the one they're being compared with. Learning to play keyboard may be like learning math (AmE) formulas; playing the keyboard could be more like solving them. (It isn't, but at least those would be logically comparable activities.)

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Thank you for your patience. I have no choice and have to explain the problem with this sentence in the original source clearly to my students. So, now the only correct way to say this sentence should be: He says that learning to read music and play keyboard is like learning maths formulas. Because the first part is matched to the one they're being compared with. Maybe we can see "to read music and play keyboard" as one action since these two actions happen almost simultaneously. Also, the sentence "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems." is not logical. Perhaps, it is better to say: learning to read music is like learning maths formulas while playing keyboard is more like solving maths problems. What do you think?

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
I don't think it's that illogical.
You are treating it as an exercise in clear, logical thinking rather than an exercise in correct grammar.
What do you mean by these two sentences? I can't get you. Many thanks if you can elaborate it a bit more.

#### rodgers white

##### Senior Member
Many thanks for your explanation. I still have one question: why do you say that the following sentence is grammatically correct, makes sense, and is natural but not logical? Do you mean the comparison is not reasonable?
Finally, can we say "He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."? Is it natural or correct in grammar? It's grammatically correct but not logical.
Forgive me if it gives you any inconvenience, many thanks indeed.

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us
Many thanks for your explanation. I still have one question: why do you say that the following sentence is grammatically correct, makes sense, and is natural but not logical? Do you mean the comparison is not reasonable?
"He says that learning to read music and playing the keyboard are like learning maths formulas and solving maths problems."
It's really a very minor point, but as someone who has done both, I think it's odd to say that playing the keyboard is like solving math problems. You are in a very different state of mind when doing them.

Status
Not open for further replies.