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  ENGLISH GRAMMAR for ESL learners  


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.
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.
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.

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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