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Often when we use the zero article article, we talk generally. When we use "the" - we talk about something specific. I asked the similar questions but now some ideas struck my mind and I wish to clarify the matter.

1) "I like music on my player" - can it mean that I like any music I upload on my player because that music is good?

2) "I like the music on my player" - only that music, that is on my player at the moment of speaking, or it can also mean that I like any music I upload there (a changing set)?

The idea of a changing set is not very clear to me. Can "the + noun (pl)" be a changing set?

I'd appreciate any help. Thanks!

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    I like music on my player means you like music rather than, say, videos on my player. The music on my player can mean the same thing, you like the music rather than the videos on your player, or you like the music on your player; in both cases the music refers to the music currently on your player. – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 15:23
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    I like the music on my player, can also mean I like the music on my player, but not the music that is not on my player. – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 15:31
  • CarSmack, thanks. You say - "but not the music that is not on my player" - does it mean that there are no exceptions from this? If to say it out of a blue, can it mean that I like the music on my player slightly more than music somewhere else, and even though there can be places where I like music to the same extent or less than on my player? – Nikolay Komolov Jan 3 '15 at 15:47
  • I like the music on my player refers to the specific music that is on your Player at the moment of speaking. You can compare or contrast that specific music to anything you want. The music on my player has nothing to do with any other music, unless you make a connection. So, yes, you can say I like the music on my player slightly more, or equal to, the/some music that is somewhere else. – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 16:05
  • The music on my Player is short for The music that is on my player, so it refers only to that music on your player at the time you say it. This is because of is (whether spoken or not). – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 16:46
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I like (no article) music on my player.

Does not refer to the specific music on your player, but simply that you like to listen to some kind of music - as opposed to audio books, for example.

I like the music on my player.

Means the music currently on the player.

If you want to talk about a changing set of titles (some currently on your player, some not), I can't think of a direct way to say so in one sentence.

  • Stephie, thanks. Please look at another example: "I like the music I upload on my player" - is it true, that as we have not a state (for instance: to have) but an action verb here (upload), the set is changeable, so I am not talking about the songs I upload now, but about any I upload at any time? – Nikolay Komolov Jan 3 '15 at 15:39
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    Present tense I upload means you upload on a regular basis, so that meaning of the verb is still there in the music I upload on(to) my player. It does not have to be the same music, and you upload music on a regular basis or "at any time". By contrast, I like the music I am uploading on(to) my player refers to that music you are currently in the process of uploading. – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 17:02
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    When I am uploading music, it is specific music, and since 'music' is a non-count noun, the only way to mean specific music is the, so you have to say 'I like the music I am uploading on my player* And uploading means right now. – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 17:12

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