artart wrote: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?
They are all grammatically correct and none would surprise me coming from a fluent native speaker.
That said, they don't all have the same meaning to me. The sentences without the article before "most" sound like they contain absolute superlatives and not relative superlatives. That is, in (a), you're not necessarily saying that he plays the piano more beautifully than he does guitar or drums, just that his piano playing is very beautiful. (For all I know, you haven't even heard him play guitar or drums, you're just reporting that he plays them.) The same applies, mutatis mutandis
, to (c).
"Of all" after "beautifully" (without or without the article) would also clarify that a relative superlative is what's being expressed.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons