Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.
What are your hobbies?
Let's talk about it.
What are you going to do this weekend?
Are you going to stay on the couch relaxing or are you going to have a lot of friends
and family over to your house for a big dinner?
Everyone has different activities that they like to do in their free-time, and these activities
are a common topic in daily conversation.
So, today I'm going to help you learn how to talk about your hobbies in English.
I have something that I need to get off my chest.
This means I have something important that has been weighing me down that I need to share
And that's this.
In daily natural English conversations, we never use the word hobbies.
We never say, "What are your hobbies?"
"I have a lot of hobbies."
Unfortunately, this is a common word that's used in English textbooks, but in real conversation,
we never use the word hobbies.
You might occasionally see this in news programs or some kind of situation like this, but in
daily conversation, we don't use hobbies.
In today's lesson, I'm going to use the word hobby as you can see up here in the title
because it's like a news article presenting about hobbies.
But don't worry, I'm also going to share with you some natural ways that you can discuss
hobbies without actually using that word, but we'll get to that in a moment.
First, let's talk about how to describe your hobbies in English.
There are four common sentences that we use when we're talking about our hobbies and they're
They are, I like to, I love to, when I have time, I usually, I wish I had more time to.
They seem pretty simple, right?
Well, I would like to present to you 20 common hobbies.
We're going to be practicing these sentences.
You're welcome to say these sentences out loud with me or after you watch the video,
you can go back and say them out loud with me to exercise your pronunciation muscles
and it's a great way to remember them by speaking out loud as well.
All right, let's practice these sentences.
I like to meet up with my friends.
I love to have a good meal with my family.
When I have time, I usually have friends over.
I wish I had more time to just chill on the couch.
I like to watch TV.
I love to go to the movie theater.
When I have time, I usually surf on the internet.
I wish I had more time to play video games.
I like to play the piano.
I like to play the guitar.
I like to play the drums.
Whatever instrument you like to play.
I love to listen to music.
When I have time, I usually sing, I usually dance.
I wish I had more time to go to concerts.
I like to learn English.
I love to travel.
When I have time, I usually take pictures of nature, of my friends, of my kids.
I wish I had more time to read books about self-improvement.
I wish I had more time to read something.
I like to work in the garden.
Or just use garden as a verb, I like to garden.
I love to go for a hike.
I love to go for a walk.
You can say, "I love to hike."
"I love to walk," but it's a little bit more natural in conversation to say, "I love to
go for a hike."
"I love to go for a walk."
When I have time, I usually play with my dog.
When I have time, I usually play with my kids or I wish I had more time to play soccer.
I wish I had more time to play tennis.
We can also use the word do for some activities.
I wish I had more time to do yoga.
I wish I had more time to do aerobics.
The difference between play and do has a lot of different rules.
That's another video for another time, but you can use this to talk about your hobbies.
Now that you know how to talk about free time activities, let's go back to the problem of
the word hobby.
How can you ask someone about their hobby if you can't use the word hobby?
Well, I'd like to tell you four common questions that we use to bring up the topic of free
Question number one, "What did you do this weekend?"
This is not a specific question.
This is not directly asking, "What activities do you like to do?"
This is indirect, but when I say, "I went to an outdoor skating rink because it was
freezing outside and it was a lot of fun."
You learned something about me.
You learned about an activity that I like, skating.
Ooh, you've taken that information now.
This shows that we often ask about hobbies or about free time activities in an indirect
Let's take a look at the next question.
When someone asks you, "What did you do this weekend?"
Or, "What did you do yesterday?"
You might say, "I went for a hike.
Have you ever been to Craggy Gardens?"
This is a common popular hiking destination in my city, Craggy Gardens.
When you ask, "Have you ever?"
Related to something that you've done, you're trying to find something in common, and this
is a really popular way to ask someone if you share the same hobbies without using the
So you might ask, "Have you ever read science fiction?"
If you mention, "Oh yeah, I just read a great book, this science fiction book."
You might ask someone, "Oh, have you ever read science fiction?"
If they say, "No."
Okay, you know you don't share a hobby, but they might say, "Yeah, I read this once,"
and you can talk about it.
Or you might say, "This weekend I went to the movie theater and I saw Toy Story 4.
Have you ever seen Toy Story 4?"
Or, "Have you seen Toy Story 4?"
You're trying to find a connection with them and it's an indirect way to ask about their
hobbies, but you're trying to find something in common.
The third question is, "What kind of things do you like to do?"
You're not asking what kind of hobbies do you like to do?
We're using the general word things, which is certainly less exciting than the word hobby,
but it's more natural and that's what I want to help you speak is natural English.
This question is more direct.
What kind of things do you like to do?
It feels like it's better to use this question in a more structured situation.
So, if you're on a date and you want to get to know someone else, the other person, you
could use this kind of structured question as you're getting to know them, but if you're
in the office and your boss introduces you to your new coworker and you're just having
some small talk, you probably wouldn't use this direct question because it feels a little
bit like an interview maybe, but when you're on a date that's fine, right?
You want to get to know more information about the other person directly.
So, you can use this in more structured situations.
When you're having that conversation with a coworker, a new coworker you've never met,
you can use those first two questions.
On the other hand, you can use this more direct question with a really casual tone so that
it doesn't feel like an interview.
For example, recently my husband and I went on a hike with a friend who we don't know
very well, we just talked with him a couple of times.
But we went on a hike together and as we were driving to that hike I said, "What other things
do you like to do besides hiking?"
I know that he already likes hiking because we're going hiking together, but I want to
know what other activities, what other hobbies does he have?
So, I'm just asking this in a really casual way just to dig deeper and get to know more
about him without it being like an interview.
"Oh, what other kinds of things do you like to do besides hiking?"
Very casual if you ask it with that casual tone.
The fourth question is also for structured situations and that is, "What do you like
to do in your free time?"
This is similar in that it's better for maybe a date when you're really trying to get to
know someone else or maybe for an interview in a structured situation because it is direct
to usually in daily conversation, we're not so direct about getting to know someone else
in this interview type of way.
Instead, we'll ask more indirectly like, "What did you do this weekend?"
Or, "I like to do this.
Have you ever done this?"
Those first two questions are going to be much more indirect for daily conversation,
but the second two questions can be used in structured situations, which we all do encounter
They're just in different places.
Let's go to the final and possibly the most important section, how to ask follow up questions.
When someone shares a free time activity with you and they say, "Yeah, when I have time,
I like to garden."
This is your chance.
Don't lose it.
You have received a key piece of information.
This is your mission impossible, except it's not impossible because you've watched this
You've received the information that this person likes to garden.
All right, it's time to dig deeper.
Dig deeper in the garden, yes, but dig deeper and get to know more about this interest that
Don't just nod your head and say, "Oh, cool."
If that's all you do, you're losing an opportunity to get to know someone else.
So, here are four common followup questions that you can ask to continue the conversation
after someone has shared some kind of free time activity that they like to do.
Number one, "How did you get into that?"
We can substitute that for their hobby.
You could say, "How did you get into gardening?"
But because they've already mentioned gardening, you don't need to say it again.
You could just say, "How did you get into that?"
That means, how did you start your interest in this hobby?
And they might say, "Oh, well I wanted to spend more time outside, so I just went for
Cool, you're asking a followup question.
Let's look at the next one.
"How long have you been doing that?"
"How long have you been gardening?"
They might say, "Well, it's just my second year, so my garden's not that big, but I really
"How long have you been doing," whatever the activity is?
"Did you grow up doing that?"
"Did you grow up gardening?"
They might say, "Well, yeah, my dad had a vegetable garden when I was growing up, but
I didn't really help him that much with it."
This question doesn't apply of course to every activity, but it's a common one, especially
for something that you might have learned as you were growing up.
The fourth question is, "Do you usually do it alone or do you have friends who do it
You might add the activity here.
"Do you usually garden alone" Or, "Do you have friends who garden with you?"
The other person might say, "Yeah, sometimes my kids help to pick the tomatoes, but they
mysteriously disappear when it's time to weed the garden."
Of course, you don't want to ask those four questions like a rapid-fire interrogation.
This isn't really mission impossible, but it's a great way to continue the conversation
and dig a little bit deeper.
I mentioned in one of my previous videos how to use English and make friends in English
that when you find something in common with someone else, don't lose that piece of information.
Tell them that you have something in common.
So, if you also like gardening or if you had a garden 10 years ago, okay, share this information
so that you can connect with them.
"Yeah, I used to have a garden and I worked really hard on it and then when the day came
to pick all of the tomatoes, I went outside and the deer had eaten all of them."
This is a true story, it was very sad.
But it's a way to connect because you have, maybe you're not a gardener now, but you have
something in common.
You're trying to find some way to connect.
That's a wonderful basis for a friendship.
And now I have a question for you.
"What do you like to do in your free time?"
I talked about just a few activities in this lesson, but of course, there are 100s more,
so make sure that you check the comments to see what friends from around the world like
to do in their free time.
It's a great way to expand your vocabulary beyond what you've learned in this lesson.
Thanks so much for learning English with me and I'll see you again next Friday for another
lesson here on my YouTube channel.
The next step is to download my free ebook, Five Steps to Becoming a Confident English
You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently.
Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons.
Thanks so much.