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It's not uncommon in California, and is too common in southern California, where people do lunch. I would expect the chef to do lunch and I would expect others to eat lunch. But more precisely, the chef can cook lunch or make or prepare lunch.

Here in Japan they go even a step further! In hundreds of Tokyo's railway and subway stations are kiosks that are run by an affiliated company of the rail network. I guess that you could say that the Japanese "do kiosk" since the ads lure customers with "Let's kiosk"...
If you love this nonsense, you'll like the stuff on http://www.engrish.com .

Murgi
I have a problem with the expressions "play" and "do" when it comes to sport.

That's "sports," sport. :-)}
The Internet is full of "Let's play sport". I tend to say "Let's do some sport", but since my native language is German, I might be completely wrong on this one.

"Let's go shoot some hoops, play (base)ball, kick the (soccer) ball, throw some passes (AmFootball)" usually does the trick. Simply saying "Let's go play/do sport" doesn't mean much here in the US.
Since I live in Japan, I hear twisted English every day. One of their favorites is "play .... (for anything). ... play in group sport activities. If it's only one or two individuals, 'play' doesn't really fit for certain sport types.

You've got the general idea here but I can't say why "do" or "play" is used in the examples above.
I swim, run, jog, ski, etc. You don't play these at all. I do paper folding (origami)?

Still on the right track.
I am fairly conversant in German but I honestly don't recall the phrases used for the examples you give. Ich gehe Fußball spielen? Ich spiele Tennis? I just don't know. I do recall one woman who worked in my office in Germany who was kind of upset at her husband's activities at the previous night's social: "Er hat den ganzen Abend gepokert." In English we wouldn't make a verb out of the work "poker" and would have said, "He played poker the entire evening."
-Yukon Jack
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I think we need another word her: STUDY. Most folks Study Ballet or Karate or Figure Skating. "Do" wouldn't be appropriate, nor would "Play"

Let's assume you are an accomplished ballet dancer. After that you don't study and sometime perform ballet as your job. ... But what would you say if the structure should be: "I ballet." like in "I play soccer."

I practice ballet. You never stop practicing. It's like lawyers - they're always practicing.
It's not uncommon in California, and is too common in southern California, where people do lunch. I would expect the chef to do lunch and I would expect others to eat lunch. But more precisely, the chef can cook lunch or make or prepare lunch.

You Are So Right! I hate that expression. It's one of those "yuppie-MBA" phrases that semi-literate folks who are attempting to climb the ladder at work use. Used by the same folks who use the word "traction" these days, as in "We're gaining traction in that market space." (I kid you not!) Sheesh.
-YJ
I practice ballet. You never stop practicing. It's like lawyers - they're always practicing.

Right you are, Jack. I've been practicing for 37 years and I still don't have the hang of it.

Bob Lieblich
Getting tired, too
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I practice ballet. You never stop practicing. It's like lawyers - they're always practicing.

Right you are, Jack. I've been practicing for 37 years and I still don't have the hang of it.

heh. My uncle is 87 and only retired about three years ago. He never got the hang of it. Too bad. He even convinced one of his sons to follow suit and he's already had a minor heart attack while practicing.

Keep it up! :-)}
-YJ
It's best to use a more precise verb when one is available, unless there is an established idiom or convention.

I don't agree that this is a general rule. Condemning the verb "to contact" was a staple of 19th century usage writers, as in "I will contact you tomorrow." One should, these usage writers told us, use a precise verb: "I will write to you..." or "I will call on you..." and so on. But if the medium of the communication is unimportant, using the vaguer term succinctly expresses this. The appropriate level of precision depends upon the context.
It's best to use a more precise verb when one is available, unless there is an established idiom or convention.

I don't agree that this is a general rule. Condemning the verb "to contact" was a staple of 19th century ... the communication is unimportant, using the vaguer term succinctly expresses this. The appropriate level of precision depends upon the context.

I don't see how that conflicts with what I said. Presumably, the idiom was not so established back then, in which case the advice might have been justified. If it was reasonably established, then the critics were overzealous pedants. In any case, if it was not an established idiom at all, I would say they were completely justified.
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I don't agree that this is a general rule. Condemning ... this. The appropriate level of precision depends upon the context.

I don't see how that conflicts with what I said. Presumably, the idiom was not so established back then, in ... pedants. In any case, if it was not an established idiom at all, I would say they were completely justified.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, but merely to observe that rather than using the most precise verb possible, one should chose the verb with the appropriate level of precision for one's meaning. Often the best choice is not the most precise.As for the history of "to contact", it was a new verb in the 19th century. The earliest citation in OED1 is from 1834, and the sense of the quote is more literal. But the 19th century usage commentators were still wrong. Verbing nouns (and nouning verbs) is a standard English word formation technique, and has been for centuries. So is the use of metaphor. So when people used the noun "contact" as a verb, and then extended its meaning to non-literal senses of contact, they were speaking genuine, authentic English.

And when they used "to contact" in place of more precise verbs when the greater precision was inappropriate, they were using English not merely correctly, but well. If usage commentators were justified in condemning a usage if it is new, and if English users actually paid attention to usage commentators, then the logical conclusion woulde be that the language cannot adapt. Fortunately, the vast majority of English users are sensible enough to ignore such nonsense.
Richard R. Hershberger
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