Free English Lessons
Talking About Sports in English – Video
by Oli Redman on September 15, 2017 , Comments Off on Talking About Sports in English – Video
In this lesson, you can learn how to talk about sports in English. Talking about sports is a great way to practice English conversation.
Are you a sport fan? What sports do you like playing?
Sport is a common topic in conversations in English, so whether you like sport or not, it’s good to have something to say and be able to to ask some questions about sport.
Do you know what the words sporty and fanatic mean?
Sporty describes someone who’s really interested in sport, and who plays sport often.
A fanatic literally means someone who only cares about one thing. You can use it with an indirect meaning to describe someone who’s really interested in something.
So if you say, I enjoy some sports, though I’m not a fanatic, you mean that you like sport, but it’s not the most important thing for you.
Okay, you have three sentences. Which is closest to your opinion?
These are good sentences to start talking, but remember that you should always add more detail if possible! Let’s add some reasons or details to the three sentences you saw:
I’ve always been really sporty. I loved sport when I was a kid, and I still play most weeks.
I enjoy some sports, though I’m not a fanatic. Playing football or something like that can be fun, but I don’t want to take it too seriously.
I’m not that into sport, to be honest. I’m not very athletic and I find watching sport quite boring.
These are already much better. If you can add reasons or details when you speak, your speaking will sound better, too!
Let’s look at some useful words here:
Athletic describes someone who’s in good shape and who enjoys exercise and sport. If you say I’m not very athletic you mean that you aren’t very good at sport, and probably you don’t really enjoy it, either.
Another very useful phrase is I find…, as in I find watching sport quite boring. This is a very good way to give your opinion about something. For example:
I find watching snooker weirdly fascinating.
I find swimming very relaxing.
I found volleyball much more difficult to play than I was expecting.
So, what about you? Do you like sport?
Pause the video and make at least two sentences. Remember to add reasons and details.
Okay? Next, we’re going to look at how to talk about different kinds of sport in more detail.
What did you think of? Maybe you thought of team sports like football, basketball, hockey, volleyball or cricket.
Do you play any team sports?
Usually with team sports, we use the verb play. You could say something like:
I play football.
I like playing basketball.
I really enjoy playing cricket.
But, of course, these answers are much too short and lacking in detail!
So, think about these questions: where do you play, how often and who with?
By answering these simple questions, you can make your answer much more detailed and interesting, like this:
I play 5-a-side football with some friends every Sunday. We rent a sports hall and play a 60-minute match.
I like playing basketball. I play for a local team. We train three times a week and have matches once or twice a week, sometimes in our town, and sometimes in other cities.
Do you get the idea? Let’s do one more example, just to make sure:
I really enjoy playing cricket. I joined an online group and we meet in the park once a week for a game. Different people play every week, which keeps things interesting!
These examples give you some useful language you can use when you speak. For example:
I play for a local team.
We play a 60-minute match once a week.
I joined an online group.
You can change these to make them true for you, like this:
I play for my school team.
We play a friendly match a couple of times a month.
I joined a club near my home.
So, what about you? Use the language with this section and talk about team sports you like.
If you don’t play team sports now, or if you don’t like team sports, try to talk about a friend or relative.
Pause the video and make your answer. You can also write down your answer if you want extra practice!
How was that? Next, a question: what’s the opposite of a team sport?
3. How to Talk About Individual Sports in English
There’s the answer: individual sports. Can you name five different individual sports in English?
Maybe you said things like tennis, badminton, swimming, boxing, running or gymnastics.
Of course, some of these can be team sports as well, like tennis or badminton.
With individual sports, you may need to use different verbs. You play tennis and play badminton, but you go swimming, go running, do boxing and do gymnastics.
A good general rule is:
play plus ball sports
go plus an activity ending -ing
do plus other activities
And yes, you say do boxing even though boxing ends with -ing. Remember: it’s a general rule! It will work most of the time, but not every time.
So, think about the same questions you answered in the last section. What sports do you like doing? Where do you do them, how often, and who with?
Look at one possible answer:
I go running by myself or with my husband. I go once a week or so. I like going running in the park or just around the streets.
What do you think—is this a good answer?
It’s not bad, but it’s a bit repetitive and simple. Every sentence starts with the same word (‘I’), which sounds unnatural.
How could you improve it?
Here’s one suggestion:
I like going running once a week or so, sometimes in the park or just around the streets. Sometimes I run with my husband, or sometimes I just go by myself.
What do you think? Does that sound better?
Hopefully, it does. This answer uses slightly longer sentences and more varied language. This sounds more natural, is more interesting to listen to, and will also help you if you’re taking an English exam such as IELTS.
Let’s look at another example:
I do boxing at my local gym. I go to classes two or three times a week. I don’t know the other people in the class.
What do you think? Could you make this answer better?
Again, it’s quite repetitive, because every sentence is a simple sentence starting with ‘I’.
Think about how you could make this answer more natural-sounding. Pause the video and think about your answer if you want.
Any ideas? Here’s one suggestion:
I go to boxing classes at my local gym two or three times a week. There are several other people who go to the same classes, although I don’t know them well.
Sound better? Again, you can see that using slightly longer sentences and using varied sentence structures can make your spoken English sound more natural and interesting.
Okay, so now you can talk about different sports you like, and say a little about them.
Next question: why do you like the sports you like?
Some people do sport to socialize. Others love to compete. For some people, sport is just a way to get fit and stay healthy. What about you? Why do you do sport?
Let’s look at two sample answers:
I play 5-a-side football with some friends every Sunday. For me, the most important thing is the social side. I don’t really care about the game, or who wins. I just like having a laugh with some good friends and getting a beer afterwards.
I play basketball for a local team. Personally, I love the competition. There’s no better feeling than winning a difficult match, or beating a team who beat you last time. I know some people say that sport’s about taking part, not winning, but that’s not true for me. If you don’t play to win, what’s the point?
What do you think? Are these good answers?
Hopefully, you can see that these are good! Talking about your personal feelings and opinions is your chance to really go into detail and use some interesting language.
Let’s look at some key words and phrases from the examples you’ve seen:
For me, the most important thing is…
I just like…
There’s no better feeling than…
You can use these phrases to give your opinion about many different things. For example:
For me, the most important thing is just getting outdoors and being active.
I just like the feeling of overcoming a challenge.
Personally, I’ve always loved being in the water.
There’s no better feeling than when you’re tired after a good game.
What about you? Can you describe why you do sport, and why you like the sports you like?
Pause the video, and try to make two or three sentences. Use the language from this section if you can.
Alright, so now you can say quite a lot about sport. Let’s put everything together.
5. Making a Longer Answer
To make a longer answer, you need to:
Talk about your general attitude towards sport.
Talk about which sports you like.
Say where and how often you do sport, and who you do them with.
Talk about why you do sport.
Here’s one example:
I enjoy some sports, though I’m not a fanatic. Playing football or something like that can be fun, but I don’t want to take it too seriously. I play 5-a-side football with some friends every Sunday. We rent a sports hall and play a 60-minute match. For me, the most important thing is the social side. I don’t really care about the game, or who wins. I just like having a laugh with some good friends and getting a beer afterwards.
This example only uses language from the lesson. You can see how you can build an interesting, detailed answer using simple ideas.
Let’s do one more example, using original language and ideas:
I don’t really like sport that much, but fitness and staying healthy are important to me. That’s why I go swimming and do some weight training regularly. I mostly just exercise by myself at the sports centre. Personally, I just do it because I feel I have to. I don’t really enjoy it, although I don’t mind it, either. I do like feeling healthy and fit, but exercising always feels more like work than something fun.
Okay, now it’s your turn.
Make a longer answer like the two you’ve just seen. Follow the same structure, and use the language from the lesson if you can.
Don’t forget that you can write your answer down if you want extra practice.
Also, it’s a good idea to practise your answer several times, until it’s really fluent and comfortable.
Then, if you’re really serious, don’t just make one answer! Make several answers, talking about different sports. Even better, make an answer from someone else’s point of view. If you practise like this, your English will get better very fast!