1

I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar, to play the electric guitar.

I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar as I do to play the electric.

(I'm not really sure what this sentence means. So, if you could break it down for me, that'd be great.)

If I wanted to convey that I don't use a single pick to play both them guitars, which sentence would be closer to what I want to convey?

What other sentences could I use to convey the same? And is the first sentence grammatically correct?

  • Hmm, @editors what should be the tags on this one? I'm not sure. (Good tags I mean, don't go add [grammar]) – M.A.R. Mar 23 '16 at 20:15
  • @IͶΔ How do those tags look? – James Mar 23 '16 at 20:31
4

The main problem with both sentences is that you have dumped one clause inside another, and it's difficult to parse.

I don't use the same pick [I use to play the acoustic guitar,] to play the electric guitar.

When you say "the same", you really need "as" to separate the two things that are the same. So, take that clause out of the middle and move it to the end, then put as between the two clauses:

I don't use the same pick to play the acoustic guitar as I use to play the electric guitar.

It's a bit long winded but it's now grammatical, readable, say-out-loud-able and understandable.

Regarding the first sentence: it is grammatical, and the clause that I bracketed is a relative clause qualifying "the pick". It is equivalent to the sentence

That's the same man (that) [I saw yesterday].

It is common to omit the relative pronoun (that) but not always wise: it would have helped to clarify the construction of your sentence.

  • "I don't use the same pick to play the acoustic guitar as I use to play the electric guitar." - this is a nice clear way to phrase this. Note though that it is still a little ambiguous: it could be interpreted as meaning "I don't use the same style pick to play [both guitars]" (a bit like saying "I don't use the same petrol in my car as I do in my motorcycle" - which is actually true in my case, although either vehicle can run on either type of fuel, much as either guitar could be played with multiple styles of pick). – nnnnnn Jun 1 '16 at 6:01
2

I won't say the first sentence is wrong, because I can't point out a concrete grammar error in it. But it doesn't sound very good to my ear. The main part of this sentence that sounds weird is

To play acoustic guitar, to play electric guitar.

This sounds weird because "to play electric guitar" is so far away from "I don't use ", so it's confusing what the "to play" refers to.

If they were closer together, for example:

I don't use an acoustic pick to play electric guitar.

That would clear the confusion and sound fine.

The second sentence is a lot clearer. Adding "as I do" makes it easier to tell what "to play electric guitar" refers to.

My only complaint with sentence 2 is that it's a little wordy. I would say

I don't use the same pick for acoustic and electric guitar.

  • And what about the second sentence? – lekon chekon Mar 23 '16 at 20:35
  • Could you break the second sentence down for me? – lekon chekon Mar 23 '16 at 20:37
  • "I don't use an acoustic pick to play electric guitar." - is unambiguous, but it's not what the original sentences actually mean. (Also there isn't really such a thing as an "acoustic pick", at least, not in common use - and not something that you couldn't use with an electric guitar.) – nnnnnn Jun 1 '16 at 5:54
1

a) About the first sentence, I think it's wrong to use sentence number one to mean what you mean. to play the electric guitar in the first sentence seems to be an independent infinitive clause. In other words, the better way (I think it still would be ambiguous) to write sentence number one is to put the last infinitive phrase at the beginning of the sentence.

To play the electric guitar, I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar. (Well ofcourse if you try to avoid the repetition too, your sentence'd sound better)

Plus I can see you're already aware of the fact that it seems weird if you use the infitive phrase in your sentence without an awkward pause that you try to show by a comma in your sentence. We don't use comma at the end of a sentence before an infinitive that concludes a main clause:

Main Clause + Ø + Infinitive Phrase. as in

Janice and her friends went to the mall to flirt with the cute guys.

That aside, whether you put a comma or you don't, you automatically make an ambiguous sentence by inserting the second infinitive phrase right after the other. Actually it's like you're making a series of and/or (or atleast they use comma for this). See this sentence as an instance.

I study my lessons every night to be a smart student, to make my parents happy, and/or to get good grades.

And if you don't use comma

I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar to play the electric guitar.

it could mean that I don't use the same pick with the acoustic guitar so that I can play the electric one!

b) About the second sentence, when you say as I do you mean the whole structure that comes before it. So I think sentence two, although is a clear improvement compared to sentence one still bears an ambiguity. Actually your sentence could also mean that you don't repeatedly use just one special single pick to play the acoustic guitar (i.e. you change your pick regularly) while you use another single pick repeatedly to play the electric guitar (i.e. you don't change your pick).

I think you can say instead,

To play the acoustic guitar, I don't use the same pick(s) as the one(s) I do to play the electric guitar.

By the way I've tried to make the fewest changes as possible to your original sentences otherwise I think the sentences suggested in other answers are more appropriate and natural.

1

Both sentences are unwieldy. The main problem is that you are emphasizing the guitars rather than emphasizing the multiple picks. I would use

I use different picks for my electric and acoustic guitars.

This sentence puts the idea of multiple picks first and foremost in the listener's mind and doesn't dwell unnecessarily on the guitars themselves.

0

Both sentences imply you use a different pick to play each type of guitar. The double "to play the" in each sentence makes them clumsier than they need to be to convey your meaning.

I would instead use the sentence:

"I use a different pick when playing the acoustic or electric guitar."

which is shorter and easier to understand. the sentence

"I don't use the same pick I use to play the
 acoustic guitar, to play the electric guitar."

needs to have comma removed. The sentence.

"I don't use the same pick I use to play the
 acoustic guitar as I do to play the electric".

needs the missing implied "guitar" after the word "electric", or if your audience already knows you are talking about guitars, you can drop the "guitar" after "acoustic".

0

Both of your sentences are understandable and unambiguous.
Both sentences mean you use a different pick for different guitars.

I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar, to play the electric guitar.
I don't use the same pick I use to play the acoustic guitar as I do to play the electric.

However, your wording is verbose. You use "I use" twice in each sentence, removing one leaves you with a single alternative. Also, the reference to your instruments is inconsistent.

I don't use the same pick to play the acoustic guitar as I do to play the electric guitar.
I don't use the same pick to play acoustic as I do to play electric guitar.

Alternative sentences might be

I use different picks when playing the acoustic or electric guitars.
I change picks when I change from acoustic to electric guitars.
When playing acoustic I use one pick, and when playing electric I use a different pick.

Note that "acoustic" is familiar shorthand for "acoustic guitar" when speaking to rock musicians, as in an "acoustic set", same goes for "electric" but since it is the default instrument "electric set" is rarely used.

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