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Published on: Grammar Bites

Los deportes y sus verbos

Watching and enjoying sports can transcend the language barrier, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to name their names in Spanish or which verbs we use to talk about them.

Let’s take a look at the most frequently used verbs when talking about playing sports:

Jugar a + article + sport:
  • Ellos juegan al fútbol todos los domingos. They play soccer every Sunday.
  • Nosotras jugamos al básquet con nuestras amigas. We play basketball with our friends.
Practicar + sport / physical discipline:
  • María practica karate cuatro veces por semana. Maria practices karate four times per week.
  • ¿Quieres practicar tu saque? Do you want to practice your serve?
Entrenar /prepararse para + competition:
  • Ellos están entrenando para las eliminatorias. They’re training for the playoffs. 
  • Julia se prepara para la final de tenis. Julia is training for the tennis finals.
Hacer deporte (to play sports – non-specific):
  • Juan hace deporte. Juega al hockey, al futbol y practica judo. Juan plays sports. He plays hockey, soccer and does judo.
Hacer ejercicio / gimnasia (to exercise, to work out – non-specific):
  • Nosotros hacemos ejercicio por las mañanas antes del trabajo. We work out in the morning before work.
  • No me gusta hacer gimnasia, pero es importante para la salud. I don’t like to exercise, but it’s good for your health.
Hacer + physical activity:
  • Nos gusta hacer senderismo los fines de semana. We like to go hiking on the weekends.

Now, let’s take a look at some sports that are not in the examples above and that have a slighly (or very) different name in Spanish:

  • Atletismo –> Athletics
  • Balonmano –> Handball
  • Beísbol –> Baseball (notice that the Spanish version is the spelling of how we pronounce the English name)
  • Escalada –> Climbing.
  • Esgrima –> Fencing.
  • Esquí –> Ski. This sport has its own verb: Esquiar (to ski).
  • Fútbol americano –> Football.
  • Levantamiento de pesas –> Weightlifting.
  • Lucha –> Wrestling.
  • Natación –> Swimming. This sport has its own verb: Nadar (to swim).
  • Patinaje (sobre hielo, sobre ruedas) –> (ice, roller) Skating.
  • Vela –> Sailing.
  • Voleibol –> Volleyball (notice that the Spanish version is the spelling of how we pronounce the English name)

Follow the links to learn more about sports en español and their equivalents in English.