It seems that "I had a race against my friends" is what a dictionary often says.

My question is that:

Does it make any sense to say "I had a race with my friends"?

we say:

Tom and Mary had lunch. (1)

Tom had lunch with Mary. (2)

we can also say:

Tom and Mary had a race.

but can we say?

Tom had a race with Mary. (the same way we say 1 & 2)

or we must say

Tom had a race against Mary.

  • 2
    All of those are correct.
    – gotube
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


I would never say

I play poker against my friends

It's an activity that we all enjoy together, even though it is sometimes quite competitive.

I think that, if you are talking about an informal activity, with is a lot better.

If you are competing in the Olympics and one of the other competitors in the event is a friend, against would be the correct term to use.


I had a race with my friends.

Is grammatically valid, and a fluent speaker might well say it.

I had a race against my friends/

is also valid and natural. The meanings of the two sentences are essentially the same. The version with "against" emphasizes the competitive aspect a bit more, but that is the only difference.

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