Sport Verbs – play, go, do

Sport Verbs - play, go, do The other weekend Ronnie from engVid went skiing. And do you do winter sports?

With different sports we use 3 English verbs – ‘play’, ‘go’, ‘do’. Happily there’re simple strict rules to differentiate them.

Above all, the plural ‘sports’ meaning any kind of it is preferred to just ‘sport’. People also often talk about ‘sporting’ activities.

To Play a Ball Sport

It’s the most typical way but note that we ‘play’ sports only with a ball.

I can play football.

We like playing baseball.

It can also be indoor sports, especially 2-sided.

Let’s play chess for a change.

Do you play darts?

To Go Sporting

We ‘go’ sporting only with the ‘–ing’ ending. So if we can add ‘-ing’ to a sport, we use ‘go’. It may also be fishing and hunting.

I go skiing.

Have you ever gone snowboarding?


Here comes even golf where the ‘-ing’ ending prevails over the ball idea.

I go golfing.

Every weekend we go bowling.


To Go in for a Sport

As contestants at competitions and tournaments we go in for sports, often as a specialty.

She’s going in for tennis this year.

To Do a Sport

For the rest we do individual sports, gym exercises (like stretches, aerobics) and martial arts (like kung fu, judo, karate). Stretches is what gym-goers do with their muscles before workouts.

I do yoga.