How to Talk About Sports in English – Spoken English Lesson

Hi, I’m Niamh. Welcome to Oxford Online English. In this lesson, you can learn to talk aboutsports in English. Are you a sport fan? What sports do you like playing? Sport is a common topic in English conversation,so whether you like sport or not, it’s good to have something to say and be able to toask some questions about sport. First question: do you like sport? Think about how you could answer. You could say something like: I’ve always been really sporty. I enjoy some sports, though I’m not a fanatic. I’m not that into sport, to be honest. Do you know what the words sporty and fanaticmean? Sporty describes someone who’s really interestedin sport, and who often plays sport. A fanatic literally means someone who onlycares about one thing. You can use it with an indirect meaning todescribe someone who’s really interested in something. So if you say, I enjoy some sports, thoughI’m not a fanatic, you mean that you like sport, but it’s not the most important thingfor 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 thethree sentences you saw: I’ve always been really sporty. I loved sport when I was a kid, and I stillplay most weeks. I enjoy some sports, though I’m not a fanatic. Playing football or something like that canbe 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 watchingsport quite boring. These are already much better. If you can add reasons or details when youspeak, your speaking will sound better, too! Let’s look at some useful words here: Athletic describes someone who’s in goodshape and who enjoys exercise and sport. If you say I’m not very athletic you meanthat you aren’t very good at sport, and probably you don’t really enjoy it, either. Another very useful phrase is I find…, asin I find watching sport quite boring. This is a very good way to give your opinionabout something. For example: I find watching snooker weirdly fascinating. I find swimming very relaxing. I found volleyball much more difficult toplay 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 talkabout different kinds of sport in more detail. How many team sports can you name in English? 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 verbplay. You could say something like: I play football. I like playing basketball. I really enjoy playing cricket. But, of course, these answers are much tooshort and lacking in detail! So, think about these questions: where doyou play, how often and who with? By answering these simple questions, you canmake your answer much more detailed and interesting, like this: I play 5-a-side football with some friendsevery Sunday. We rent a sports hall and play a 60-minutematch. Or, I like playing basketball. I play for a local team. We train three times a week and have matchesonce 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 makesure: I really enjoy playing cricket. I joined an online group and we meet in thepark once a week for a game. Different people play every week, which keepsthings interesting! These examples give you some useful languageyou 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 foryou, like this: I play for my school team. We play a friendly match a couple of timesa month.

I joined a club near my home. So, what about you? Use the language with this section and talkabout team sports you like. If you don’t play team sports now, or ifyou 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 youwant extra practice! How was that? Next, a question: what’s the opposite ofa team sport? There’s the answer: individual sports. Can you name five different individual sportsin English? Maybe you said things like tennis, badminton,swimming, boxing, running or gymnastics. Of course, some of these can be team sportsas well, like tennis or badminton. With individual sports, you may need to usedifferent verbs. You play tennis and play badminton, but yougo swimming, go running, do boxing and do gymnastics. A good general rule is: play plus ball sportsgo plus an activity ending -ing do plus other activities And yes, you say do boxing even though boxingends with -ing. Remember: it’s a general rule! It will work most of the time, but not everytime. So, think about the same questions you answeredin 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 aroundthe streets. What do you think—is this a good answer? It’s not bad, but it’s a bit repetitiveand 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, sometimesin the park or just around the streets. Sometimes I run with my husband, or sometimesI just go by myself.

What do you think? Does that sound better? Hopefully, it does. This answer uses slightly longer sentencesand more varied language. This sounds more natural, is more interestingto 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 everysentence is a simple sentence starting with ‘I’. Think about how you could make this answermore natural-sounding. Pause the video and think about your answerif you want. Any ideas? Here’s one suggestion: I go to boxing classes at my local gym twoor three times a week.

There are several other people who go to thesame classes, although I don’t know them well. Sound better? Again, you can see that using slightly longersentences and using varied sentence structures can make your spoken English sound more naturaland interesting. Okay, so now you can talk about differentsports you like, and say a little about them. Next question: why do you like the sportsyou like? Why do people do sport? How many different reasons can you think of? Some people do sport to socialize. Others love to compete. For some people, sport is just a way to getfit 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 friendsevery Sunday. For me, the most important thing is the socialside. I don’t really care about the game, or whowins. I just like having a laugh with some goodfriends and getting a beer afterwards. Here’s another: I play basketball for a local team. Personally, I love the competition. There’s no better feeling than winning adifficult match, or beating a team who beat you last time.

I know some people say that sport’s abouttaking 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 opinionsis your chance to really go into detail and use some interesting language. Let’s look at some key words and phrasesfrom the examples you’ve seen: For me, the most important thing is… I just like… Personally, …There’s no better feeling than… You can use these phrases to give your opinionabout many different things. For example: For me, the most important thing is just gettingoutdoors and being active. I just like the feeling of overcoming a challenge. Personally, I’ve always loved being in thewater. There’s no better feeling than when you’retired after a good game. What about you? Can you describe why you do sport, and whyyou like the sports you like? Pause the video, and try to make two or threesentences. Use the language from this section if youcan. Alright, so now you can say quite a lot aboutsport. Let’s put everything together. 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, andwho 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 canbe fun, but I don’t want to take it too seriously. I play 5-a-side football with some friendsevery Sunday. We rent a sports hall and play a 60-minutematch. For me, the most important thing is the socialside.

I don’t really care about the game, or whowins. I just like having a laugh with some goodfriends 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 originallanguage and ideas: I don’t really like sport that much, butfitness and staying healthy are important to me. That’s why I go swimming and do some weighttraining regularly. I mostly just exercise by myself at the sportscentre. Personally, I just do it because I feel Ihave to. I don’t really enjoy it, although I don’tmind it, either. I do like feeling healthy and fit, but exercisingalways feels more like work than something fun.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Make a longer answer like the two you’vejust seen. Follow the same structure, and use the languagefrom the lesson if you can. Don’t forget that you can write your answerdown if you want extra practice. Also, it’s a good idea to practise youranswer several times, until it’s really fluent and comfortable. Then, if you’re really serious, don’tjust make one answer! Make several answers, talking about differentsports. Even better, make an answer from someone else’spoint of view. If you practise like this, your English willget better very fast! If you want more free English lessons likethis, check out our website: Oxford Online English dot com. Thanks for watching! See you next time!

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