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  ENGLISH GRAMMAR for ESL learners  


PLAY - GO - DO

The use of 'play, 'go' and 'do' for sports and leisure activities.



When speaking about sports and leisure activities, the verbs play, go and do are used as shown in the table below.


Verb Explanation Sport/Activity
PLAY Sports with teams, rules and competitions or tournaments.
  • Two people can play a game of tennis.
  • You need a team to play football.
  • Dad's gone to play golf.
 Badminton
 Basketball
 Football
 Golf
 Rugby
 Tennis
 etc
GO The name of the activity is the gerund form of the verb (-ing).
  • To camp  →  go camping
    We often go camping in the summer.
  • To swim  →  go swimming
    Many children like to go swimming.
 Camping
 Dancing
 Hiking
 Horse-riding
 Sailing
 Swimming
 etc.
DO All other recreational activities.
  • All classes do gymnastics at school.
  • Sophie does yoga with a group of friends.
  • No wonder he's fit. He does gymnastics every day.
 Aerobics
 Athletics
 Gymnastics
 Judo
 Karate
 Yoga
 etc.

EXCEPTIONS:
Unlike other activities ending in -ing, we use 'do' with boxing, body-building and weight-lifting.

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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