There are three verbs you can use to talk about sports in English:
play — do — go
1. Use PLAY for team sports or sports played with a ball:
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
skating / figure skating
*Yes, you can play golf and go golfing. Golf is also a verb (see below).
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: Do not put to between go and the activity. You do NOT
go to swimming. You just go swimming.
LEARN MORE: English Vocabulary: How to use the verb go
The sports that end in –ing are all in gerund form. They can also be used in their verb form:
dive / scuba dive
skate / figure skate
Do you scuba dive?
Do you golf?
I learned how to ski when I was 9 years old.
She skates at the local community centre.
He runs marathons for fun!
LEARN MORE: English Vocabulary: Gerunds used for sports
There’s always an exception to the rule in English! These sports are not used with go:
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:
karate / martial arts
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?
I jog every morning to stay in shape. I play tennis and I also do aerobics.
*People who do yoga seriously often say I practice yoga. That’s fine
make or practice to talk about sports.
- Make is not used in English to talk about sports.
Practiceis 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.