Vocabulary – Verbs Used To Talk About Sports

by Melanie on May 4, 2010

(Photo by Carlos Sottovia)

 

In English, we use three different verbs to talk about sports:

play ~ do ~ go

 

1) Use PLAY for team sports or sports played with a ball:

football
baseball
basketball
rugby
tennis
hockey
volleyball
cricket
soccer
badminton
golf

I love to play badminton.

I played basketball when I was in high school.

In my spare time, I play soccer with my friends.

Do you play any sports?

When I was a kid, I loved playing baseball with my family.

 

2) Use GO for sports that end in –ing (gerunds):

skiing
swimming
climbing
diving
fishing
running
jogging
skating / figure skating

I love to go jogging in the morning before I go to work.

My grandfather and I go fishing every time I visit him.

Every winter, my family and I go skiing in the Rockies.

What are you doing this weekend? Let’s go swimming!

 

*NOTE: There is NO to between go and the activity. You do NOT ‘go to swimming.’ You just ‘go swimming.’

 
The sports that end in –ing are all in gerund form. They can also be used in their verb form:

ski
swim
climb
dive / scuba dive
fish
run
jog
skate / figure skate

Do you scuba dive? Yes! I love scuba diving.

I learned how to ski when I was 9 years old.

She skates at the local community centre.

He runs marathons for fun!

 

EXCEPTIONS!
There’s always an exception to the rule in English! These sports are not used with go:

boxing
fencing
weight training

Don’t use a verb with these sports. They don’t fit easily into any of the three categories. Don’t say “I do boxing” or “I go fencing.” You can say,

I like to box.
I like watching fencing at the Olympics.

Sometimes we use these sports with do some,

I’m going to the gym to do some weight training.

 
3) Use DO with sports that you don’t need any equipment to do:

aerobics
karate / martial arts
yoga
gymnastics

She does a lot of yoga – that’s why she looks so great!

My daughter used to take swimming lessons, but now she does gymnastics.

Do you do any sports?

To stay in shape, I jog every morning, I play tennis and I also do aerobics.

~

  • Make is not used in English to talk about sports.
  • Practice is rarely used to talk about sports. It is only used to talk about professional athletes who need to practice their skills before a game or an important event. The average person does not practice a sport.

 


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