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'PLAY v Do v GO' : Never make a mistake again!

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Hello. Welcome back.

Have you ever had trouble with these 3 simple verbs??

In this lesson you will learn the simple rules for using Play, Do and Go to talk about sports, hobbies and activities.

You will also learn the difference between GO and GO TO.

It's easy!!

You will learn when to use 'play', when to use 'do', and when to use 'go'. And, you will understand when to use 'go to'. You can test your learning in the quiz near the end of the lesson. Improve your daily English conversational fluency when talking about sports, activities, and hobbies, and stop making mistakes using 'go to'.

Play v Go v Do Cheatsheet
Download PDF • 168KB

You can find a cheatsheet/summary below or you can download a copy here on the right.

You can also find a list of VOCABULARY for the lesson & a full TRANSCRIPT below.

Have fun and happy studying!

Take it easy,


The Personal English Trainer


versus (v / vs) abroad

common Roblox

to explain mahjong

different/difference related

to introduce grammatically (from grammar)

exception to wrap up



Hey there. Welcome back to The Channel. My name is Chris. I am the personal English trainer. And today we've got a very simple lesson for you, which will help you a lot because lots of students have trouble with these very simple verbs. Just three verbs, play do and go. Today we're going to talk about that. First, let's check out what's on the board. Okay.

Sentence one, I like to go to shopping. Sentence number two, I like to play skiing and sentence three, I like to do training. Okay, now one of these sentences is correct. It's okay. Two of these sentences are wrong. Okay, now think about it for a moment. Get your pen, get your notebook, get ready to study. Hit that intro.

Are you ready? Let's check out the board. So what do you think about the first one? I like to go to shopping. Is it right or is it wrong? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below. If you thought it was right or wrong, I like to go to shopping. So many students say this. Many, many students in Japan, many students and other Asian countries like Korea and China. I'm not so sure about in Europe, but a lot of students say this. It is wrong. You cannot say. I like to go to shopping.

Number two, I like to play skiing. This is also wrong. You cannot say play skiing. I like to play skiing. I like to play surfing. I like to play swimming. You cannot say. Okay, so if the first two are wrong, the third one must be okay. So this is correct. Okay, but why?

Why are the first two wrong? Well, in today's lesson, I'm going to explain why the first two are wrong and teach you how to use play, do and go to talk about activities. And by the end of the lesson, maybe 10, 15, 20 minutes, you will have a very clear idea and you won't make mistakes again.

Let's check out the lesson plan. Our goal is to use play do and go to talk about activities correctly. The level is for elementary and pre-intermediate students. But if you're intermediate or any level and you still have problems with play, do and go, or go to, then please watch the video.

We are going to do four things. First, we'll talk about some common mistakes. Second, I'll explain the difference between go and go to. It's very simple. Number three, we will look at play versus do versus go. Finally, we'll finish off with a little practice, a little quiz, a little practice quiz. Okay, let's get back to here.

Okay. So number one, common mistakes. These are common mistakes. So I like to go to shopping. Should not be go to shopping. It should just be. I like to go shopping. Number two should not be. I like to play skiing. It should be. I like to go skiing. And number three is okay. I like to do training. So I like to go to shopping and I like to play skiing. I hear a lot.

Okay. Now there's one more very common mistake. And I'm going to introduce it now, but I will talk about it later. And that is go to there. Yeah, I will go to there tomorrow. You can't say that, there is no to. Maybe this is the number one mistake students make. Go to there and also a little different but come to here. There's no to also, just come here. Okay. But I'll talk about that in a moment.

Right. Let's have a look at go versus go to. So...we cannot say go to shopping. So when do we use go to? Let's have a look. I can say go to the bank. That's okay. I can say go to the park. That's okay too. Go to the beach, go to the office, go to Central Park. I can say go to Copacabana Beach. I can also say go to Spain, or go to Rome. All of these are okay. And these are all...actually what are they? They're all places. So go to the place.

When we use go to, this is the rule. The rule is go to plus the place. Now there are a couple more rules also. We don't always use 'the', so here we have the bank, go to the bank, the park, the beach, the office. We never say go to bank, go to park, go to beach. You cannot say that. You must say go to the bank, go to the park. Go to the beach. Now, over here, if we use the name of the park or the name of the beach, we do not use 'the', so we don't say go to the Central Park. We don't say go to 'the'. If it has a name, there is no the. So that is one of the rules. Now, when we talk about countries or cities, they're also place names, therefore we don't use the. We say go to Spain, go to Rome.

Chris, where are you going? I'm going to Spain. Wow. Sounds great. Chris, when are you going to Rome? I'm going to Rome tomorrow. Now, most of the time there is no the, if you study the rules for 'a' and 'the' and countries, there are some special cases, but I don't want to talk about that today.

Okay. Let's have a look at the exception. An exception is something which is different from the usual, different from the normal or in this case, different from the grammar rule. And English grammar has a lot of exceptions just to make your life harder and English more difficult to study. So the exceptions in this case…there are about four, maybe five. Okay. The first exception, as I mentioned before, it's a very common mistake, students will say, go to there. It's go there.

Okay, number two, very common mistake students say is go to home. What will you do after class, I will go to home. No, no, no, no. Don't say that. I will go home. Stop saying it. Don't say it anymore.

The next exception to the grammar rule is school or university. So actually we don't actually say go to the school. We just say go to school. That's what we say for school, for university, we say go to school. Okay. Very similar is work. Now work here means my place of work. Now we usually say go to work again. No, just go to work. What time do you start work? Oh, I usually go to work around 08:00 and I stop work at 09:00. So there is no the. So this is a noun and it's the same if we talk about class. To go to the place of your class, I usually go to class five minutes before the lesson. There is no the. Okay, and the last exception I want to talk about today is go overseas, to another country. Overseas. We don't say go to overseas. We just say go overseas. And another word which has the same meaning as overseas is abroad. So we also just say go abroad. There may be more exceptions, but for now, I think this is enough because these are the very common words and common mistake. Now, if you understand this, you will probably never make mistakes with ‘go to’ again.

Now, one point coming back to go to shopping is this....go to the shopping mall. That's okay, we can say that because a shopping mall is a place. Therefore go to the shopping mall. But shopping was an action or activity.

Okay, now let's have a look at play versus do versus go. We have 16 activities on the board.

Hiking, soccer, tennis, riding, aerobics, etc. Etc. Okay, now do we use the verb play, the verb do, or the verb go. The first one hiking. Play, do, or go?

Go. We go hiking. I like to go hiking in the mountain, not the city. Okay. Soccer. Soccer may be easy. Everybody likes to play soccer. Play soccer. Tennis? Tennis is also play. Do you play tennis? I used to play tennis.

Riding? Could be riding a motorbike. Could be riding a horse. Could be riding a bicycle. Could even be riding an elephant if you're in Thailand or India. So riding, we would say go riding.

Aerobics. Do we play do or go aerobics? We do aerobics.

Boxing. This one is a little difficult, but we would say do.

Chess. Are you a good chess player? What do we say? Play do or go? It's play.

Cycling? Cycling is go. Okay, let's move over to the other side.

Monopoly. Do you know the famous game? The famous board game Monopoly? I grew up playing Monopoly and the verb is play.

Golf? Golf is also play.

Video games? If you are a gamer, you probably play a lot of video games. Let me know what’s your favorite platform? Playstation, Roblox, Nintendo.

Exercise? Do we play or do or go exercise. Go sounds strange. It is do. Do exercise.

Swimming. We go swimming.

Sailing. We go sailing.

Zumba. Go zumba. We don't go Zumba. We do Zumba.

Bungee, jumping, bungee jumping. What do you think? Play? Do? Go? You may be surprised, but it's go. Go bungy jumping.

And the last one, what is mahjong? It's play. Play mahjong.

Okay. How many did you get right? Did you get them all right? Did you get 16 out of 16? Let me know in the comments how many you got right. Be honest. Okay, so why do we use go for hiking? Why do we use play for soccer? And why do we use do for aerobics? Okay, so now let me show you the rules.

So if you take a look at the board now you can see the very basic rules for using play and do and go.

Okay. Play is always with sports. That's why play soccer, play baseball, play basketball, play hockey, play volleyball, play tennis, play golf. But it's traditional sports, traditional Western sports.

Okay, so, for example, in Japan, they have karate. Karate or judo is a traditional sport. But we don't say play. Okay, games. We play games, including video games. So we play games. We play chess, we play monopoly, we play mahjong, we play cards, we play poker. All those things are games. So sports and games are play.

Go. Go is for 'ing' activities basically. 90.. 99%. There are some exceptions, but basically an 'ing' activity will be go. So, for example, bungee jumping. We say go bungee jumping. Swimming, we go swimming. Sailing, go sailing, surfing, we go surfing. Skiing, we go skiing, camping, hunting, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, skydiving, scuba diving. snorkeling. All of these 'ing' activities. Go driving, go riding, they're all go. There are some exceptions. I'll talk about that in a moment. Okay, now, if it's not play and it's not go, then it will probably be do. So that's why aerobics...we say do aerobics. Exercise. We say do exercise zumba. We would say do zumba. Okay.

So just remember these basic rules. So play plus sports and games, go plus ing activities, and do plus others.

Okay. But again, there are some exceptions. So let's have a look at the exceptions. The exceptions tend to be related to the ing activities. Okay. So, for example, boxing, we don't say go boxing. We say do boxing. Most of the go activities tend to be activities we go somewhere to do it, go swimming. We go to the swimming pool to do it. We go to the mountains for hiking. We go up in the airplane for skydiving

Boxing...we don't have to go somewhere. You can box right here. And it's the same for those other fighting sports, like karate or judo or taekwondo, or kung fu. We do those activities. I do karate. I do judo. We can also use another verb. We could say practice. I practice boxing. I practice karate. I practice judo. The next exception is training. We do training. We don't say go training. We do training, and the next one, maybe it's a kind of training, but many people go to the gym, to the sports club and they lift weights. They do weightlifting, not go weightlifting. Do weightlifting. Okay, so these are three in examples which are exceptions to this rule of go plus ing activities.

I want to explain one other small point related to go plus ing activities. Okay. So take a look on the board. There are two sentences. I go camping every summer. Go ing. I go swimming every weekend go ing. Okay. So one thing you have to understand about these ing activities are they can always be used as verbs by themselves. So, for example, camping, so the basic verb is camp. Or swimming, the base verb is swim. So we can also say, I camp every summer. That is grammatically correct. You can say that. I camp every summer. I swim every weekend. That's fine, we can say that. So go swimming is another option we can use to talk about these activities. And the go ing form is something we use quite often. We probably use it more than the base verb.

Okay, so let's check if you learned or remember everything from today. There are five questions. Well, five sentences. Let's have a look, okay.

Number one says I usually something shopping on the weekend. Is it play? Is it do? Is it go? Is it go to. Think about it for a moment. Is it play shopping, do shopping, go shopping, go to shopping?

Okay. The answer is go. I usually go shopping on the weekend.

Number two, last year I something hiking in New Zealand. Is it go, go to went, did. Think about it for a moment. Okay. Right. The answer is went. I went hiking in New Zealand. Okay, so be careful, because in this sentence it's past. Last year, therefore the verb must be past. If it was this year, we would use go. But because it's last year we have to use went. I went hiking in New Zealand.

Number three, my father often something fishing, but I think it is boring. Sorry, all you guys who love fishing. I like to something swimming or something exercise. So there's three...three parts to answer in this question. I'll give you a moment to think about it. Is the first one go, go to, goes to, do or does? Are you ready? Okay, the first one is my father often goes fishing. Okay, so it must be go or goes because it's ing activity. Fishing, so usually go fishing. But because it's my father, my father is third person, therefore he goes, she goes, it goes. My father often goes fishing. Okay, so it's not go to, therefore not goes to, and it's not do or does. It's goes. Okay, but I think it is boring. I like to play, do, go or go to? I like to go swimming. Ing activity, go swimming, or exercise. Play, do, go or go to? Do exercise. It's not play, it's not an ing activity. It's not a place. So it must be do.

Okay, number four, I want to something Italy Italia next year because I want to something skiing in Cortina. Cortina is a place name. It's a famous skiing spot in Italy. Okay, so think about it for a moment. Are you ready? Okay. So, I want to... Italy is a place. It's a country. So it should be go to...Italy. It's not go to the because go to the is for the bank. Go to the bank, go to the park, go to the office. So it's not go to the. It's not an exception. It's standard for country or city name. I want to go to Italy next year because I want to skiing. It's not an exception. Let's not play because that's for sports and games, traditional sports and games. It's not go to because it's not a place. It's not do because it's an ing activity. And those are usually go, so go skiing.

Okay, number five, I will something bank after class. Then I will something home. Go, go to, go to the. Go, go to, go to the. Think about it for a moment. I'll give you a few seconds and then we'll check the answer. Okay, you're out of time. Go bank, go to bank or go to the bank. It is go to the. So go to the bank after class and then I will...go home. Okay, so go home was one of the exceptions to the grammar rule. I hope you did well on the quiz. If you didn't go back and watch the video again and try to learn the rules and then try the quiz again.

Okay, so let's wrap up today's lesson. Our goal today was to use play do and go correctly when we talk about activities. As part of that, we looked at the common mistakes and it was important to understand the difference between go and go to. Do you remember? So go to plus the place. Go plus ing activity. There we go. One more time so you can remember, that was the difference. Okay. We looked at play versus do versus go. And if we look at this summary table, games and sports are play. There's usually two teams and two players and a ball.

If we look at go, it's for kind of sports activities and hobbies. Right. Go skiing, go hiking, go, go riding. We do it by ourself. It's individual. That means by ourself. Although we can do it in groups of people and there's usually no ball. So if it does not fit in play and go, then it's probably due. And we have examples like do exercise, do aerobics, do yoga, do zumba, do boxing, do karate.

Thank you very much for watching today. I hope this lesson helps you to improve your English. Please hit the like button. Also, don't forget to practice, practice, practice. Okay.

Stay safe. And I will catch you next time in the next lesson. Okay. Bye.

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