Today on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from a Facebook friend.
Guadalupe writes, “Hello! Could you explain what are the differences between hop, jump and skip? Thank you!!”
Hi, Guadelupe! What a fun question! We usually say the words in this order: “hop, skip, and jump.” This expression brings back memories of my childhood and when my children were young. Children are always moving and these verbs describe three actions they love to do. Let’s talk about their meanings and give examples of how English speakers use them.
We say a person hops when they jump upward on one foot or make a series of jumps on one foot. When people hop, they usually stay in about the same place. For animals, we say they hop when they jump with two feet or all of their feet at one time. Think of how a bunny rabbit moves: The animal is hopping.
Another use of the word “hop” comes from the 1960s. It can mean an informal dance for young people. American Bobby Darin sang about a girl who was the “queen of the hop.”
I got a girl they call the queen of the hop, oh well I love my queen...
And you have probably heard of the name “hip-hop.” That form of music first became popular in New York City in the 1980s.
Skip means to move forward in a light, playful way by stepping from one foot to the other with a hop or bounce. Have you ever seen a young child moving so that one foot hits the ground and slides a little before they take another step? That is skipping, and children usually do it when they are happy.
In addition, “skipping rope” is a game where you hold a rope in both hands and move it under your feet with each step.
Finally, jump means to push the body into the air using one’s legs.
Children love jumping on beds. So adults teach them the song, “Five Little Monkeys,” which warns of what can happen when someone falls.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor
And the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed...
Hop, skip or jump?
Now, a few final words of advice:
If you want to describe a quick movement in almost the same place with one foot or both feet together, use “hop.”
When you talk about forward movement with little hops and steps, use “skip.”
And when the movement goes farther, use the word “jump.”
And that’s Ask a Teacher!
I’m Jill Robbins, and I’m hopping out of here!
Words in This Story
bunny – n. a young rabbit
slide – v. to move smoothly along a surface