A race is a competition. You can use this word for sporting events or business activities. These sentences and questions use "race" as a noun:

  • There’s a 400 meter race today.
  • The race ended in a tie. (tie = two invididuals or teams have the same score or the same time.)
  • How long is this race?
  • How many people are running in the race?
  • Who won the race?
  • Let’s have a race!

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The word "race" is also commonly used when people are trying to get elected to a political office. The events leading up to the election are a "race."

  • The race for President of the United States has already begun even though the election doesn’t happen until November of 2016.
  • Many Republicans have entered the race for president.
  • The race for governor of our state was very close.

These sentences use "race" as a verb. To race is to go fast.

  • It’s fun to watch horses race.
  • A couple of children raced each other across the beach.
  • Bernie’s heart races whenever he sees his girlfriend.
  • If Sandra races with the wind at her back, she’ll probably win.
  • Let’s race!

The word "race" can also be used when a group of people are determined to solve a problem or find a solution within a period of time:

  • Scientists are racing to find a cure for cancer.
  • Firefighters raced against time when putting out the fire.
  • It feels like I’m always racing around on the weekend to get things done.

Sometimes the word "race" is used for a person’s ethnic background.

  • Lavitra is black and Roger is white, but they love each other regardless of each person’s race.
  • Ahmed claims he was denied an apartment because of his race.
  • It’s illegal in the United States to discriminate* based on a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation.

*discriminate: to take a form of action or behavior against a person based on skin color or other factors.

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This page was first published on August 6, 2012. It was updated on July 18, 2015.