In part one of your IELTS Speaking test, one of your 3 topics might be sports. If it is, then the examiner will probably ask, “Do you like sports?” or “Do you like playing sports?”
Let’s look at how you can give an excellent answer to this question, with 20 good examples (go straight to the answers here).
What You Can Say
Remember, in English ‘sports’ doesn’t include exercise or working out alone at the gym.
Sports only include actual competitive games like football, basketball, athletics, etc.
If you like any sports, you could talk about:
- Which sport you like
- Why you like it
- How long you’ve played it or watched it
- Why you like sports in general
- If you prefer to play a sport or watch a sport (or both)
- What teams you support
- What famous player you like, and why
- What sports you liked when you were younger
- Anything else that comes to mind
You Don’t Like Sports?
If you don’t like any sports, no problem. You could talk about:
- Why you don’t like playing or watching sports
- Sports you liked when you were younger
- Sports you’d like to try in future
- Someone you know who really likes a sport
- Why you think other people like sports so much
- What you prefer to do instead of sports
- What other kinds of exercise you enjoy
- Anything else you can think of
Relax, and Focus on Fluency
Remember that in part one of the test, you should focus on warming up and speaking smoothly, without hesitation.
This means focusing on fluency. Don’t hesitate. Just answer as quickly as you can using simple English. And try not to make mistakes.
If you like, you can use some nice vocabulary and a little interesting grammar, but this isn’t important in part one. If you only use simple grammar in part one, that’s fine for a band-seven score.
If you try to focus on vocabulary, you’ll slow down and make yourself nervous. That’s why it’s better to speak simply and focus on fluency.
In parts two and three of the test, you can more easily show off your clever vocabulary and grammar. This is where you will gain a higher score.
How Long Should Your Answer Be?
Not too short and not too long. About 10 or 20 seconds for each part-one answer.
Follow the three-step YES Method for part-one questions. Just say:
- Your answer (‘yes, I do’ or ‘no, I don’t’)
- Explain your answer, or add more details (with one or two simple sentences)
- Stop talking (wait patiently for the next question)
Let’s take a look at 20 example answers to this common sports question.
‘Yes, I Do’ Answers
1. Yes, I do. I really enjoy sports, especially football, which I like to play with my friends at the weekends.
2. Yes, I love sports because they’re a lot of fun and playing sports is very important for my health. I find that sports are also a great way to spend time with my friends.
3. Yes, I’ve always loved sports. I played basketball at school. These days I don’t have so much free time to play but I still try to shoot some hoops every now and then.
4. Yes, I think everyone should play some kind of sport, as sports give us a really engaging way to keep fit, lose weight, and learn about teamwork.
5. Well, I’ve always been very competitive, so yes, I do like sports. In particular, I enjoy one-on-one sports such as martial arts, snooker, and tennis.
6. Yes, I love playing table tennis. I’ve been playing table tennis since I was in college, and I haven’t stopped since. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.
7. Yes, I enjoy athletics. I really like getting out on a nice day, onto the running track, running as fast as I can. When I was younger I was in our high school athletics team.
8. Yes, I’m crazy about football. I support Manchester United, they’re my favorite team. I’ve traveled loads of times to see them play, often with my father, who’s a big fan too.
9. Yes, I’m an avid fan of Formula One racing. It’s so exciting to see those incredible cars shoot around the track. The drivers are so skillful.
10. Yes, I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics in Beijing and it’s a lot of fun. The ice skaters are very graceful and lovely to watch. I was supporting my country, and they won a few medals.
‘No, I Don’t’ Answers
11. To be honest, I don’t enjoy sports at all. I do like exercising though. I go to the gym a few times a week, but I haven’t played any sports in a long time.
12. No, I don’t. I’m not a very physical person and I find sports too competitive. But I can understand why so many people enjoy sports like soccer and volleyball.
13. No, absolutely not. I don’t enjoy sports. I think they’re a waste of time. I’d much rather be learning something valuable for my personal life, or for work.
14. No, I don’t, but I know that’s quite unusual in my country not to like sports. Football is so popular in my neck of the woods. Everyone likes to play and watch and talk about football. I just never got into it.
15. No, I don’t like playing sports and I don’t like watching sports on TV either. There’s no real reason why I don’t like them. It’s just not my cup of tea.
16. To tell you the truth, I’m not a big fan of sports. I’m rather lazy and I’d rather spend my free time relaxing at home or hanging out in a coffee shop with friends.
17. I’ve never been much of a sporty person. I had to play rugby at school, but I really hated it, especially on cold, wet, muddy days. These days, I never play any sports at all.
18. Well, I don’t play sports myself, but I do love watching tennis on TV, especially when it’s a big tournament like Wimbledon. I’m a big fan of Novac Djokovic, the current world champion.
19. I used to be a pretty sporty person, but I’m afraid these days I’ve become rather too laid-back. Having said that, I do enjoy watching sports online.
20. I only like playing sports in computer games. A couple of really good games are Pro Evolution Soccer and NBA Jam. I can play them all day long, they’re so much fun.
Notice in these answers there are some interesting ways to say ‘yes,’ such as, “I’ve always loved…” and “I’m crazy about…”
And there are also some interesting ways to say ‘no,’ such as, “To be honest, I don’t like…” or “I’m not a big fan of…” or “No, absolutely not.”
Perhaps you could use one of these phrases in your answer.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Set up the voice recorder on your phone, and ask aloud, “Do you like sports?” or “Do you like playing sports?”
Answer clearly and quickly, without hesitation, following the three-step YES Method.
Then listen to your recording, and think of ways you can improve your answers.
It’s often best to write down what you said, so you can see your English really clearly and notice any mistakes.
Repeat this process a few times, and you’ll soon be able to get a band-seven score for this IELTS Speaking part-one question.