In oxford dictionary:

Sport: [uncountable] (British English) (North American English sports [plural]) activity that you do for pleasure and that needs physical effort or skill, usually done in a special area and according to fixed rules

There are excellent facilities for sport and recreation.

I'm not interested in sport.

the use of drugs in sport

[countable] a particular form of sport

What's your favourite sport?

team/water sports

a sports club

It seems that US people only use "sports" not "sport".

But why do people (both American & British) say "sports shoes", "sports club", "sports team", "sports bar", "sports facilities", etc?

But "apple juice", "orange juice", "book club"

Why don't they say "sport shoes", "sport club", "sport team", "sport bar", "sport facilities", etc?

  • 1
    You'll virtually never hear a sport shop in BrE, but it's far from unknown in AmE. And a sport jacket accounts for more than 1 in 3 in AmE. Feb 3, 2017 at 15:51
  • I would say sports doesn't imply a physical activity as swimming here and it's more associated with fun. So why sports and why not sport, I'd like to go out on a limb here that probably it's meant the shoes that are used by cheerful people (cool people/sports) since one of the meaning of sport is that.
    – Yuri
    Feb 3, 2017 at 22:45
  • @Yuri as a native speaker (American) I really don't think so, sport(s) shoes are the same thing and refer to shoes that one wears when playing sports. Feb 7, 2017 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


Sport is a singular noun ("a sport"), whereas sports is not only the plural of sport, but also by convention refers to the general category of all sports. Example: "Tennis is a sport. Tom likes sports, but Harry only likes one sport."

Regarding phrases like "sport(s?) shoes": the way it is usually spoken, you can't hear the difference anyway, so the question is a bit esoteric. BUT the "correct" version (in AmE) would be sports shoes because we are talking about the category of sports. If the shoes are intended for one sport only, then you would say the name of the sport: "baseball shoes".


I am interested in (the sport of) tennis. The words in parentheses are 'understood', we mean them but do not feel the need to say them.

I am interested in sports. More than one sport.

I wear tennis shoes. I wear bowling shoes. I wear hockey skates. I wear sports shoes. These shoes are for running and walking and tennis. I do more than one sport when I wear them.

I go to the sports field/stadium because though I am watching baseball, there are other games or sports played there.

I think some of your examples are simply colloquial. Sports team -- I am sure you hear it and I don't because it sounds natural to me. I am personally more likely to say hockey team or whatever, so I can't say.

  • 2
    but why saying "book club" but not "books club" oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…
    – Tom
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:35
  • @Tom I think you should edit your question and add that one. I do not know! I love that question and look forward to an answer from one of our more expert grammarians.
    – WRX
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:38
  • 1
    [AmE] Seems to me these things are usually partly about phrase origins and partly about which is easier to say. A book club used to be called a book-of-the-month club. And if you wanted to call it a books club now because it is about more than one book, you would probably say reading or "lit" (short for literature) club instead.
    – Stew C
    Feb 21, 2017 at 17:53

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