English vocabulary: learn to talk about your free time

Here are some ways to talk about what your hobbies, interests and favourite sports in English.

Saying what you like

like + noun / ing form
I like tennis / I like playing tennis

love + noun / ing form
He loves football / He loves watching football

be keen on + noun / ing form
She's keen on the cinema / going to the cinema

enjoy + noun / ing form
We enjoy sports / playing sports

For more phrases to talk about your hobbies, see our page Talking about your hobbies in English

Remember: I like (+ ing / noun) is for general likes.
I like going to the cinema.

I'd like + verb is for a specific occasion:
I'd like to go to the cinema next weekend.

Adding emphasis

You can add "very much" at the end of the sentence.

I like tennis.
I like tennis very much.

You can add "at all" to a negative sentence if you don't like something.

I don't like cricket.
I don't like cricket at all.

Talking about your hobby

Use adverbs of frequency (always, sometimes, rarely etc) or another phrase to talk about how often or when you do your hobby.

I only watch football at the weekends.

I go to the gym four times a week.

I don't often have time to socialise with friends.

You can say why you like your hobby by describing it with an -ing adjective.

I like swimming because it's relaxing.

Watching football is exciting.

It's interesting to surf the net.

Example conversations

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I spend a lot of time going to discos with my friends.

Are you keen on sports?
Yes, I love playing tennis in summer.

Are you a sports fan?
Not really. I prefer relaxing with friends in a restaurant.

Do you like going to restaurants?
Not much. I prefer cooking at home.

Typical hobbies

These hobbies are popular with British people.

Watching television
Visiting friends
Entertaining friends (when friends come to your house for dinner, etc)
Listening to music
Reading books
Going to the pub
Going to a restaurant
Gardening
Going for a drive
Going for a walk
DIY (doing DIY = doing home-improvement activities)
Photography / Taking photographs
Surfing the net

Typical sports

Here is some vocabulary for different sports.

Ball games

Football
Rugby
Cricket
Tennis
Squash
Hockey
Baseball
Basketball
Volleyball

Martial arts

Judo
Karate
Kickboxing
Boxing

Extreme sports

Paragliding
Rock climbing
Caving
Mountaineering

Water sports

Swimming
Diving
Sailing
Canoeing
Windsurfing

Other activities

Jogging
Keeping fit
Horse-riding
Hiking
Skateboarding
Gymnastics
Athletics

Using play, do and go

When we talk about our hobbies, we can use the verbs play, do, or go.

My sister plays tennis every weekend.
My brother likes doing DIY.
I go swimming three times a week.

Play + sport / game
play football / play video games / play chess

Do + hobby / individual sport
do DIY, do judo

Go + activity
go swimming, go fishing

Hobbies and interests exercise

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