Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever been asked what you like to do for fun?

Have you ever heard a question like this or about your hobbies in English?

Though this is a harmless enough question, it can come across the wrong way in conversation sometimes.

We’re going to look at why this question can be a bit awkward, how to answer it, and different ways to approach this conversation without things feeling uncomfortable.

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We have a great question through Instagram, and this is one can be difficult for even natives.

Hi ladies,

I love your show! I have a question for you that I am hoping you can help to answer. Can you tell me what is the best answer when somebody asks what you do for fun? What’s the difference between that question and what are your hobbies?

I know that they are probably very similar, but I’m not sure. I just don’t know how to answer that question.

Thank you for your help!


Understanding The Differences

How do you feel when people ask this question?

It’s a fair question and it’s used often in conversation, and so it shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable.

Is there really a difference between saying “what do you do for fun” and “what are your hobbies?”

There really is no difference, though hobbies sounds a bit more official and perhaps more to the point.

How else could you ask this sort of question?

You could say something like “What do you usually do on the weekends?”

You might even say “What do you usually do in your spare/free time?”

In general, these questions only come up in more formal situations such as a first date, an interview, or something like that.

If you are in a more natural conversation, you may be more casual and instead start with something YOU like to do!

You might say “do you like to…….” or even “I’m really into ___________ lately, have you done that?”

The question can be asked in multiple ways, but it’s all about you getting to know somebody better.

How Do You Answer This Question?

In the end, you want to know how to answer this question if it comes up in conversation.

This is something that we talked a little about in a previous episode How To Talk About The Hobbies You Want To Start In English

Talking about hobbies or what you like to do in your free time is quite common.

You want to know how to answer this question when it comes up, and there are multiple answers that work quite well.

  • Oh I really like to travel/traveling: This is a direct and straight forward answer to their question. You are saying something that you like to do and then this allows you to elaborate on it a bit. This also allows the other person to jump into the conversation if they share your likes or interests.
  • I always find myself….: This gives you a way to introduce something that you find to be your hobby or interest. It’s something that you can touch on, and then it makes it easy for you to turn it around and ask them about their interests too. You might say “I always find myself in the kitchen learning some complicated new recipe.”
  • My favorite thing to do is..swim, shop, etc.: You are answering their question directly and therefore they get to know you a little bit. In your answer you are talking about something that interests you and it gives a glimpse into your life.
  • I wish I had more time to….: Sometimes it’s about being able to do things that we are interested in. We may not have the time to do this like we wish we did. This does however give a view into what you would do if you had more free time to yourself.

These answers all work quite well when somebody asks you the question to learn more about you.

Making The Conversation More Natural

Be sure that you include the other person in your answer, and try to bounce it back to them.

As you answer, ask them about their favorite hobbies or things that they like to do in their spare time.

This takes the focus off of you, but it also allows you to get a little bit about them too.

This question is honestly a “necessary evil” if you’ve ever heard of that.

So what is a necessary evil?

It’s essentially something that you have to talk about or do, but you may dislike it or even hate it.

The reason that this question may be so negative in how it comes across is that it feels unnatural.

You may want to instead find more natural ways to bring up your hobbies in conversation.

Then it sounds a lot less like an interview, and it sounds much more like a natural conversation.

This allows you to get to know each other, but not in a way that feels forced.

Know how to answer the question when it comes up, but also know how to more naturally talk about hobbies–this will take your conversation skills to a whole new level.

Roleplay To Help

A roleplay can really help here when you’re not sure since it can be a rather unusual question to answer.

Lindsay says: “Great to meet you Michelle!” 

Michelle says: “You too! What have you been up to today?”

Lindsay: “Oh I just came in from Minnesota last night so I have been catching up on sleep!”

Michelle: “That’s awesome! Do you travel a lot?”

Lindsay: “It’s my favorite thing!”

This is way more natural, and it works really well.

You want to try to always sound and come across more naturally to provide more information in the right way.

Here’s another roleplay that can help you so that you can see it from a slightly different angle.

Lindsay: “So Michelle. What do you like to do for fun?”

Michelle: “My favorite thing to do is read. I wish I had more time to spend on reading.  Do you read a lot?”

Lindsay: “Yes!”

As you can see Michelle included Lindsay in her answer.

So even though it was the same question, Michelle included Lindsay to try to continue the conversation in a very natural way.


Some questions are necessary evils, even though they can make you feel a bit uncomfortable.

The best thing to do in these situations is to always find natural ways to share yourself.

The questions are helpful “bouncing off” points, but think of how you can be more interesting in how you share.

Ask the other person about their hobbies and include them in the conversation.

This takes the spotlight off of you, makes the conversation more inclusive and interesting, and gets a good dialogue going too–this is what connections are made of!

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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