Jouer or faire? In French, like English, we can both play and do sports/games/hobbies, but you need to know which verb sounds correct for each activity. Here are the rules to help you get it right!
Learn when to use "faire de" and "jouer à" with sports in French
FAIRE DU SPORT
When using "faire de la danse" or "faire de la natation" (FOR EXAMPLE) rather than simply "danser" or "nager", you refer more to an organised, repeated activity - I take dance lessons / I go swimming [as a regular activity, e.g. attending class or lessons] - than just a 'one-off' activity you're in the middle of doing such as I'm dancing / I'm swimming.
-> Note that in that context, the difference is not very noticeable.
Remember, English has two present tenses: I dance (simple), and I am dancing (continuous) which lets us make the distinction between something you do regularly versus something you're in the middle of doing. French has no present continuous tense, so we use faire de to distinguish the regular activity that you do, from the one-off activity you are doing.
JOUER + À + [SPORT]
Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »
Learn more about these related French grammar topics
Examples and resources
(Michel Butor)When I write, I want to paint and make music at the same time, and that makes literature.