• "I play a drum."
  • "I play the drum."
  • "I play the drums."

My context book says it is the third one but I saw foreigners use the other choices before. So which one of the four choices is acceptable?


I have not heard the indefinite article with an instrument, so I would not say "I play a drum." However, you could say:

I play the drums.

Here, drums is an abbreviation for a drum set. (Think of snare + cymbals + bass drum = drum set).

"I play the drum" is a little marginal, because of the abbreviation. But I have seen other instruments used, as in "I play the viola."

  • It is like "I love music; I feed dogs... etc." Why any article before 'drum'? Let it naturally sound, "I play drum" similar to I play violin. 'a' or 'the' gives a little different meaning.
    – Ram Pillai
    Nov 29 '19 at 3:42
  • The link cited in the main question, english.stackexchange.com/questions/6635/…, answer your query about the article.
    – rajah9
    Nov 29 '19 at 12:09
  • 1
    @RamPillai that is acceptable in certain contexts, but only if you are playing one drum. Most drummer have a drum kit, which has multiple drums, so the idiomatic way is "I play the drums" or "I play drums". Nov 29 '19 at 12:12
  • Yeah, that way you are right.
    – Ram Pillai
    Nov 29 '19 at 12:19

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