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azz
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2020 5:37:25 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/15/2014
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a. He plays the guitar, the drums and the piano, but he plays the piano most beautifully.
b. He plays the guitar, the drums and the piano, but he plays the piano the most beautifully

c. Tom, Pete and Harry all play the piano, but Tom plays it most beautifully.
d. Tom, Pete and Harry all play the piano, but Tom plays it the most beautifully.


Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct?
Which are natural?

Many thanks.
Romany
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2020 6:51:26 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 18,343
Neurons: 59,641
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Your sentences are ambiguous:

a) difficult to tell whether you're saying he plays all instruments beautifully but the piano is the one he plays the most beautifully of all. i.e. using 'most' as a superlative.

b)Or whether you're saying he plays other instruments but not particularly well; so that, by contrast, he plays the piano absolutely beautifully. i.e. intending 'most' as an intensifier.

c) & d) have the same problem. When we use a superlative like 'most' we are making a comparison:we have to have three "things" to compare, which here is beautiful piano playing. So if Tom plays it the "most" beautifully the other must also play beautifully i.e. Pete plays the piano beautifully, Harry plays the piano more beautifully, Tom plays it most beautifully.

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