Play bowling

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Savoir, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Savoir Senior Member

    Is it common or correct to say "play bowling?" Or is "go bowling" more common? Thanks.:)
  2. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    "Go bowling" is the much more common phrase. In fact, "play bowling" is not said at all, to my knowledge.
  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    :thumbsup: I "go bowling" at a bowling alley. I "bowl", I do not play "bowls" (ie. I play Monopoly or play cards but I don't play bowls).
  4. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I play lawn bowls.

  5. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Ah, there's that regional thing again! Many senior citizens in Canada do, as well, but they "go lawn bowling".:)
  6. 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?
  7. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    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.

  8. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Yes, I heard that a lot when I was in England
    "What are you doing this evening?"
    "We're going to the bowling alley".
  9. Moogey Senior Member

    New Jersey, USA
    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.)

  10. Savoir Senior Member

    Thanks to all who have replied.:)
  11. brian&me

    brian&me 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: Dec 14, 2017
  12. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    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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