You might love doing sport or watching it on TV, but can you talk about it in English?
A common mistake when talking about sport in English is to use the verb 'practice'. The most common verbs we use to talk about sport in English are 'go', 'do' and 'play'. So, how do you know which verb to use? There are some simple rules we can follow:
Use 'go' with sports that end in -ing.
For example: go swimming, go running, go skiing, go cycling
Use 'play' with team sports. These sports usually need a ball or something similar to play (a puck for hockey, a shuttlecock for badminton etc.).
For example: play football, play tennis, play volleyball, play golf
Use 'do' for sports you do individually and not in a team. We use 'do' to talk about martial arts, sport and exercise.
For example: do exercise, do aerobics, do athletics
Here is a chart with some of the most common sports and the verb they use:
Got it? Let's Practice!
Look at the sentences below and choose the correct verb: do, go, or play to complete them.
Think about whether you need the infinitive (with or without 'to') or the -ing form of the verb, present simple, past simple or present perfect.
The answers are at the end of this article:
A: 'Do you (1)_____ any sport?'
B: 'Yes, I love (2) _________ swimming. I also (3)_______ basketball three times a week, and you?'
A: 'I often (4)________ golf at the weekends with my dad, but I prefer (5) _______ snowboarding in the winter if I can.'
B: ''Have you ever (6)_______ martial arts?'
A: 'I (7)________ judo once about ten years ago, but I haven't (8)_____ any martial arts recently. Have you?'
B: 'No. I am (9)_________ tennis later this afternoon. Do you want to come?'
A: 'Thanks but I'm (10)_________ running. I want to get fit!'
How many did you get right? Remember, you can check the answers at the end of this article.
To practice a little more, and to make things a little more complicated, can you find the three mistakes in the text below? The mistakes are related to the use of the three verbs used to talk about sports: go, do, play.
The answers are at the end of this article.
Got it? Let's Practice! - Answers
(1) do (2) going (3) play (4) play (5) to go (6) done (7) did (8) done (9) playing (10) going
The Most Popular Sports - Answers
The three mistakes are:
line 4: "...people do and watch football..." (the correct answer is 'play')
line 5: "Athletics is also played by many people..." (the correct answer is 'done')
line 8: , "...there is always the possibility to do running..." (the correct answer is 'go')
Image by Hugh Gallagher (CC BY 2.0)