1. Free Time and Hobbies Vocabulary
What words or phrases for free time activities do you know in English?
Some people like things you can do at home, like:
- Watching TV
- Reading books
Other people like sports, such as:
- Playing football/tennis/basketball
- Going swimming/jogging/climbing
- Doing boxing/judo/yoga
Of course, many people enjoy more social activities. For example:
- Hanging out with friends
- Relaxing with (your) family
- Going shopping
Or maybe you prefer to do something more creative, like:
- Taking photos
- Writing stories/a blog
What about you? What kind of free time activities do you prefer?
Let’s see how you can talk about activities you like.
2. What Do You Like Doing?
- In my free time, I like ________
What could you say here?
- In my free time, I like playing basketball.
- In my free time, I like relaxing with my family.
- In my free time, I like reading books.
Can you see a pattern? In every sentence, we use a verb + -ing after like.
Can you make a sentence? What do you like doing in your free time?
- In my free time, I like ________
But, just using like can be repetitive. What else can you use?
You can use other verbs like love, enjoy, or hate.
- I love watching TV.
- I enjoy going swimming.
- I hate going shopping.
Can you see the same pattern? After all of these verbs, you need to use a verb with –ing.
You can also add words like really, sometimes or absolutely to make your meaning stronger or weaker. For example:
- I really like taking photos.
- Sometimes, I enjoy going jogging.
- I absolutely hate playing football.
Now it’s your turn. What can you say?
- In my free time, I really like _________.
- Sometimes, I enjoy _________.
- I absolutely hate _________.
OK, so now you can say something about what you like or don’t like doing. Let’s see how you can add more details to your idea.
3. Adding Details: How Often Do You…?
First, let’s say how often you do your hobby or free time activity. For example:
- I like playing sport. I play football every Tuesday evening.
- I absolutely hate going shopping. I only go shopping once or twice a year.
- I really like taking photos, but I don’t get the chance to do it often.
What about you? Can you say how often you do your hobbies? You can use these phrases to help you:
- …every _________ –> For example: every weekend; every Saturday afternoon; every day.
- …once/twice a _________ –> For example: once a week, twice a month, three times a year.
Can you make some sentences like this about your free time and hobbies?
4. Adding Details: Where Do You…?
Next, let’s add some details about where you do your hobby or free time activity. For example:
- I like playing football. I play every Tuesday evening at the park near my house.
- I enjoy having coffee with my friends. We go to a café in the city centre once or twice a week.
- I really like taking wildlife photos in the forest, but I don’t get the chance to do it often.
You can see that our answers are getting more detailed. Whenever you speak, you should try to add details to your ideas like this. It will make your English sound more natural and more interesting.
What about you? Can you add some details like these to your ideas? Pause the video and make some sentences to practise.
5. Giving Background to Your Hobbies
If you have an interesting hobby, you could say more about when and why you started doing it.
- I started playing tennis when I was ten.
- I’ve been learning to paint for six months now.
- I decided to do yoga because I wanted to get healthy.
- My friend got me into climbing.
In the last sentence, my friend got me into… means that your friend introduced an activity to you, and now you like it.
What can you say about your hobby? Can you use some of these phrases to talk about yourself?
- I started ________ when I was ________.
- I’ve been ________ for ________.
- I decided to ________ because I wanted to ________.
- ________ got me into ________.
6. Describing Your Hobbies
Finally, let’s look at how you can add some descriptive words to say why you do or don’t enjoy something. For example:
- I like climbing because it’s really exciting.
- I love doing yoga because it’s relaxing.
- I really like writing stories, because it’s creative and I like using my imagination.
You can also use negative adjectives to talk about things you don’t like. For example:
- I don’t like going jogging because it’s tiring.
- I hate watching TV. I find it boring.
- I’ve been trying to learn to paint, but it’s too hard.
Why do you like your hobbies? What do you dislike doing in your free time, and why? Try to find some adjectives to describe your hobbies.
7. Your Turn to Speak!
Now, let’s try using everything we’ve learned to make a longer answer.
I really like playing tennis. I play every weekend at the park near my house. Sometimes I play with my brother, or sometimes with a friend. My brother got me into it, because he loves sports and he needed someone to play with. I didn’t like it at first, because it was hard and I lost all the time, but now I enjoy it, especially when I beat my brother!
Let’s look at one more sample answer:
I love taking photos. Once or twice a month, I go to different areas of the city and look for interesting pictures to take. I’ve been interested in photography since I was young, when my dad got me a camera for my birthday. I like it because it’s creative and I can express myself through my pictures. Anyone can use a camera, but you need to use your imagination to find good pictures.
Now, can you talk about your free time?
- What do you like?
- Where do you go, and how often?
- When and why did you start doing your hobby?
- Why do you like it?
Try to talk for at least 30 seconds, and give lots of details!
We hope you enjoyed this lesson from Oxford Online English! Are you preparing for an upcoming speaking exam? Continue practicing with our other spoken English lessons.