Games and sports

Games and sports
With or without the definite article?
French normally uses the definite article with names of games and sports :
= le football
= le bridge
= les échecs mpl
= les billes fpl
cops and robbers
= les gendarmes et les voleurs
to play football
= jouer au football
to play bridge
= jouer au bridge
to play chess
= jouer aux échecs
to play marbles or at marbles
= jouer aux billes
to play cops and robbers or at cops and robbers
= jouer aux gendarmes et aux voleurs
to like football
= aimer le football
to like chess
= aimer les échecs
But most compound nouns (e.g. saute-mouton, colin-maillard, pigeon vole) work like this :
= cache-cache m
to play at hide-and-seek
= jouer à cache-cache
to like hide-and-seek
= aimer jouer à cache-cache
Names of other ‘official’ games and sports follow the same pattern as bridge in the following phrases :
to play bridge with X against Y
= jouer au bridge avec X contre Y
to beat sb at bridge
= battre qn au bridge
to win at bridge
= gagner au bridge
to lose at bridge
= perdre au bridge
she’s good at bridge
= elle joue bien au bridge
a bridge club
= un club de bridge
Players and events
a bridge player
= un joueur de bridge
I’m not a bridge player
= je ne joue pas au bridge
he’s a good bridge player
= il joue bien au bridge
a game of bridge
= une partie de bridge
a bridge champion
= un champion de bridge
the French bridge champion
= le champion de France de bridge
a bridge championship
= un championnat de bridge
to win the French championship
= gagner le championnat de France
the rules of bridge
= les règles du bridge
Playing cards
The names of the four suits work like club here :
= les trèfles mpl
to play a club
= jouer un trèfle
a high/low club
= un gros/petit trèfle
the eight of clubs
= le huit de trèfle
the ace of clubs
= l’as de trèfle
I’ve no clubs left
= je n’ai plus de trèfle
have you any clubs?
= as-tu du trèfle?
clubs are trumps
= l’atout est trèfle
to call two clubs
= demander deux trèfles
Other games’ vocabulary can be found in the dictionary at match, game, set, trick etc.

Big English-French dictionary. 2003.

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