Taking a moment to have fun, in between the stresses of the world, helps positively improve your mental health, and even your physical health. It is important for everyone to have a hobby, no matter what they choose. Hobbies are activities that you do regularly in your free time which give you pleasure. Your hobbies can help you stay physically fit, can help you destress, can boost your creativity, or even help you make extra money. These pastimes can be individual or in a group, they can be indoors or outdoors, the choices are endless.
We will now look at some vocabulary and expressions linked to hobbies in English which will be very useful in your social life when discussing your favorite pastimes with (native) English speakers in an international context.
General hobby vocabulary and expressions
Many people choose to collect things as their hobby. It could be action figures, music or movie memorabilia, stamp collecting, or even spoon collecting! Amateur collectors will slowly grow their collection when they come across the object they like, often letting their collection grow naturally with time. Expert collectors may go to auctions seeking out the object they have in mind – collecting the rarest editions to add to their impressive collection. Steven Smith, of Great Yarmouth in the UK, has collected over 20 736 matchboxes in his lifetime, and always keeps a fire extinguisher close by. The biggest collector, however, is Paul Jones, of Idaho USA, boasting a baseball card collection of over 2.7 million cards and holds a Guinness World Record.
As a hobby some people choose to build things, rather than to collect. LEGO is probably the biggest company to facilitate this hobby and has expanded over the years. You can simply buy a few blocks and build what comes from your imagination, or you can build the entire Hogwarts Castle from Harry Potter. Model cars, airplanes, trains, rockets, and boats have enthused many people and kept them building for hours on end. A similar hobby to building model sculptures is the world of Arts and Crafts. This type of handiwork exists in every corner of the globe and attracts many hobbyists. These hands-on enthusiasts make blankets, candles, clothes, graffiti, movies, origami, paintings, sculptures, soaps, and much more. Their creations can stem from a range of sources: traditional items in their culture, a passed down hobby from a family member, something they saw in a TikTok video, or something they were simply drawn to.
Lots of hobbyists like to be more active and engage in various performing arts. This can include dance lessons, competitions and concerts: from ballet, break dancing, to salsa or swing. People can choose to perform in different ways such as acting, stand up comedy, or magic shows. The performing arts as a hobby can often build your self confidence and provide the opportunity to meet new people who share the same passion as you.
Music as a hobby can be individual or collective, depending on your preference. Many people simply love to explore different music and listen to their favorite musicians for hours. Some people like to dive deeper and learn to play a musical instrument that interests them. These could be: violin, guitar, drums, etc. Rap artists and singers can perform on stage during open mic nights, or they can choose to join a band or an orchestra and play in a group. The hobby of music can bring many people together as it spreads across cultures, languages and traditions all around the world.
Food and drink can even be your hobby of choice! Whether it is just going for a tasting or making the food or drink yourself, this is another hobby that can bring people together. Many people travel to different countries to do beverage tastings and cultural food tours to enrich their knowledge, and their palette. The most popular tastings include wine, spirits, cheese, traditional food and even fusion food (bringing together ingredients from different cultures and merging recipes).
The biggest hobby around the world is sport. People are usually introduced to sport through their families, their communities or their schools. Individual sports are very popular for those who have lots of ambition: dancing, skiing, surfing, and golfing are only a few in this list. Team sports promote team building, a sense of community and self confidence, these include: tennis, soccer, rugby, etc. Sports offer longevity as a hobby as you can play the sport, watch the sport and eventually coach the sport when you are older.
How to ask about other people’s hobbies
- Do you have a hobby? What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
- What do you like doing in your spare time? What do you like to do in your free time?
- Do you play any sports? Do you watch any sports? Are you a member of a sports club?
- What sort of music do you like? What kind of music do you listen to?
- Do you play any instruments? What musical instrument would you like to learn to play?
- Have you read any good books lately? Do you have any good books to recommend?
- Have you seen any good films recently? Do you have any good movies to recommend?
- Do you like to dance at all? Have you ever done dancing as a hobby?
- What hobby would you like to do in the future? Do you have a hobby planned for the future?
Expressions and vocabulary to speak about your hobbies
- I quite enjoy … verb+ing ; watching, playing, listening to …
- I like to + verb ; watch, play, listen to …
- I’m interested in … / I enjoy … / I am a fan of … / I really like … / I love …
- I am a member of … a gym, a sports club, a group of collectors, etc.
There are many benefits to picking up a hobby, even just for a short while. If you would like to improve your stress levels, your creative outlet, your physical health or even your social circle; taking time to practice a hobby has many advantages. Hobbies are a way for people to bring more enjoyment into their lives and to connect with others who share similar interests. As English is today’s most widely spoken language in the world, being able to use hobby vocabulary and expressions in English is essential if you want to be able to connect with friends and colleagues in a multicultural context.
So…what hobby will you choose to do next?