Would you like to play on a games console?

Would you like to play a games console?

Which sentence is correct?

  • 2
    The console is the instrument: the means, not the ends. So you don't "play the console", you "play on the console". Similar to how you "play football" (ends) but "play on a football field" (means). Ancillary comment: no one says "games console"; in idiomatic English, you'd simply refer to it as a "console", but if you're committed to getting "game" in there somewhere, you'd say "game console", or, even more likely, "gaming console". But not "games console". Long story short: "You wanna play on the console?".
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 1, 2017 at 13:51
  • What @Dan said. Prepositionless to play a games console isn't quite as weird as, say, to play a card table, or write a typewriter, but it's straying into that general area. Oct 1, 2017 at 15:46
  • @DanBron: I don't think there's anything odd about "games console", at least in BrE ( standard.co.uk/stayingin/tech-gaming/… ; express.co.uk/entertainment/gaming/886141/… ).
    – rjpond
    Dec 4, 2017 at 2:42
  • I agree that we say "play on the console", not "play the console", but whether this is because the console is "the instrument" is another matter. That might just be a rationalisation. After all, a guitar or a piano is also an instrument, yet we "play the piano", "play the guitar", etc.
    – rjpond
    Dec 4, 2017 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


Either "play on a game console", or "play a console game" works.

In the latter version, "console" becomes an adjective describing "game".

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