Play bowling

  • Savoir

    Senior Member
    Thanks, everybody. I'd like to know if people in the UK say "play bowling". I'd like to know about the regional differences.

    How about "play bowling games"? Is it common to say so?

    . 1

    Australian Australia
    It is weird.
    I play bowls but I go bowling.
    I can not explain the difference.
    It sounds odd to say play bowling or go bowls.



    Senior Member
    USA English
    After thinking about it a bit, I noticed that activities that end in an -ing are usually preceded by "to go" when you intend to go do that activity...

    - Go swimming
    - Go fishing
    - Go bowling
    - Go riding a horse

    And logically it makes sense because it's just like saying "I'm going (to the pool) to swim" or "I'm going (to the bowling alley) to bowl" or "I'm going (to the lake) to fish". This is exactly why I believe we use "to go". "Bowling" primarily represents the act of playing this particular game, not the game itself (necessarily), as evidenced in my explanation. (Assuming that's true, then I don't believe there is a word solely for the game itself.)



    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    <Added to this thread. Nat, moderator>

    Hi, everyone.

    People usually say ‘go bowling’. I wonder if I could also say ‘play bowling’.
    For example, “What are they doing?” “They are playing bowling.”

    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "To bowl" is a verb, so we would simply say "they are bowling." You could say "They are playing baseball/soccer/tennis," though, because "to baseball," "to soccer" and "to tennis" are not verbs.
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