In beginners English, we learn how to answer a very typical question: “What do you like to do in your free time?” Most of us know how to answer with the basics:  “I like to run, I enjoy spending time with my family, I like to watch sports, etc.” There’s nothing wrong with a simple answer, but today I’ll help you be more descriptive (and have more fun) when you talk about your favorite hobbies!

Here are some common hobbies with more detailed descriptions...

I like spending time with my family and friends.

  • I like to hang out with my family and friends. - A phrasal verb that directly means to spend time.
  • I like to meet up with my friends. - A phrasal verb that means for a group of people to get together.
  • I like to get together with friends. - A phrasal verb meaning when people meet to spend time.
  • I catch up with my friends once or twice a week. - A phrasal verb that describes a meeting where people discuss what has happened since the last time they were together.

*Important Tip: In English, we almost never say to pass time or to share time with people. We generally say spend time or hang out.

Example: My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and friends. I hang out with my friends several times a week. Usually, we relax, have a few drinks, and catch up. I meet up with  my family once a week. We almost always have lunch together on Sundays and relax in the park if the weather is good. I’m so grateful that my family lives close to me. It’s really special that we can get together so often.

I like to cook.

  • I’m an amateur chef. - Somebody who is not a professional.
  • I’m an expert chef. - Somebody with significant knowledge and experience.
  • I’m always learning how to cook new things.
  • Verbs: To experiment, to bake, to learn, to share, to eat

Example: I’m not an expert chef, but I really enjoy cooking. I started cooking five years ago. I’m always trying to learn how to cook new things. My specialty is Italian food! I love making fresh pasta. I really enjoy having dinner parties with friends because for me, the best part about cooking delicious food is sharing it with other people.

I like to exercise.

  • I’m a gym rat. - An idiom that describes somebody who is always at the gym.
  • I like to work out. - A very common phrasal verb that means to exercise.
  • Types of exercise: yoga, crossfit, zumba, lifting weights, boxing

Example: I recently starting working out frequently, and it’s been great! I’m doing crossfit at a a gym near my house. Sometimes I try yoga or zumba classes as well. I go to the gym at least three times a week, so I’ve made some great new friends.

I like football (or soccer).

  • I’m a football player. - A person who plays football.
  • I’m a football fanatic. - A very intense and enthusiastic fan.
  • I’m a huge football fan. - A supporter of a team.
  • I cheer for (team) - to support and encourage.
  • I support (team) - In this context, support also means to encourage.
  • Verbs: to play, to cheer, to support

Example: I’ve played football since I was five years old. When I was growing up, we played football whenever we had free time! Now, I only play soccer once a week with a recreational league. I’m also a huge fan. I love watching games - especially during the World Cup. Of course I usually cheer for Chile, but when they’re not playing, I support Brazil.

I like music.

  • I’m a musician. - A person who creates music.
  • I’m a music appreciator. - A person who appreciates music.
  • I play the (instrument).
  • I love live music. - Music in person, concerts.
  • Genres of music: folk, rock and roll, pop, hip hop, acoustic, jazz, classical, rap

Example: I’m definitely a music appreciator. I listen to Spotify all the time when I’m cooking, cleaning, or commuting. I also love live music, especially jazz and acoustic. I’m actually a musician! I’ve been playing piano since I was eight years old.

I like running.

  • I’m a runner. - A person who runs.
  • I’m a serious runner. - A serious runner is very committed to running and runs frequently.
  • I’m a casual runner. - A casual runner enjoys running, but they aren’t serious about the sport.
  • Verbs: to train, to jog, to sprint

Example: I’ve been a serious runner for three years now. Running is a great way for me to relieve stress and stay in shape! I’m actually training for a marathon. I ran my first half-marathon two years ago. A full marathon is going to be a challenge, but I'm really excited.

I like watching TV/movies.

  • I’m a binge watcher. - A binge watcher is an informal term for a person who watches many episodes of a television series at one time.
  • I’m a movie fanatic. - A very intense and enthusiastic fan.
  • I prefer watching movies/TV/series.
  • Genres: comedy, drama, horror, romance, animated, action

Example: I love watching series. I watch Netflix almost every night! I’m definitely a binge watcher, especially with Game of Thrones. My favorite series is How I Met your Mother. In general, I prefer dramas and comedies. I also like watching movies, but I prefer series.

I like art.

  • I’m an artist. - A person who actually creates art.
  • I’m an art appreciator. - A person who appreciates art.
  • I’m artsy. - A fun and informal adjective used to describe a creative, artistic person.
  • Verbs: to paint, to draw, to sketch, to knit, to design, to sew, to go to the art museum

Example: I’m not a professional artist, but I’m definitely artsy! When I have time, I love sketching and designing clothes. In the future, I’d like to try painting. My friends are also creative, so we really enjoy going to museums together and seeing new exhibitions.

I like spending time in nature.

  • I’m very outdoorsy. - A fun and informal adjective used to describe somebody who really loves nature and the outdoors.
  • I prefer the ocean/mountains/desert/forest.
  • Verbs: to hike, to trek, to camp, to fish, to ski, to explore, to rock climb

Example: I’m really outdoorsy! I especially love camping and hiking in the mountains. I feel really lucky because there are so many incredible places to camp in Chile. I recently started rock climbing, and I love it. It’s a great way to meet new people. For me, spending time in the outdoors is the best way to relax and disconnect from stressful city life.

*Grammar Tip: Using the Present Perfect

Using the present perfect or present perfect continuous with since or for is a great way to tell somebody how long you’ve had a hobby. For example:

  • I’ve been playing soccer since I was 5 years old.
  • I’ve skied for 10 years.

What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have hobbies that you wish you could describe in more detail? Comment below, and we'll give you some tips!

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Written by Mariah Wika

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