How to Say “Catch” in ASL: Formal and Informal Ways, Tips, and Examples

Greetings! Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “catch” in American Sign Language (ASL). Whether you’re learning ASL for the first time or looking to expand your vocabulary, this guide will provide you with formal and informal ways to express the concept of “catch” using ASL signs. We’ll also cover some regional variations, if there are any, and offer plenty of tips and examples to help you master this sign. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Way to Say “Catch” in ASL

In formal ASL, the sign for “catch” involves a few steps that clearly convey the action. Follow these steps to properly execute the formal sign for “catch”:

  1. Start with your non-dominant hand slightly curved, palm facing upwards.
  2. With your dominant hand, form a loose claw-like shape with your fingers, similar to a catching motion.
  3. Moving your dominant hand downwards, gently tap it on the palm of your non-dominant hand.

Remember, each movement should be deliberate and clear to ensure proper communication. Practice the sign slowly at first, gradually increasing your speed as you become more comfortable with the motion.

Informal Way to Say “Catch” in ASL

If you’re in a more casual or informal setting, you may want to use a simplified sign for “catch” to convey the meaning quickly. The informal sign for “catch” involves a single movement that represents the catching action. Follow these steps to use the informal sign for “catch”:

  1. Extend your dominant hand, palm facing downwards.
  2. Using a quick, flicking motion, tap your dominant hand against the air in front of you, as if catching an object.

The informal sign for “catch” is often used in everyday conversations or when signing rapidly. It’s a more simplified version of the formal sign but still effectively conveys the intended meaning.

Tips for Mastering the Sign for “Catch”

Tip 1: Practice in front of a mirror to ensure you’re accurately mimicking the sign for “catch.” Observing yourself will help you correct any unintentional deviations in your handshape or movement.

Tip 2: Start with slower, deliberate movements, gradually increasing your speed as you become more comfortable. Remember that clarity and precision are essential in ASL communication.

Tip 3: Use facial expressions and body language to emphasize the action of catching. Your expressions and overall body movements can enhance the meaning behind the sign.

Examples of “Catch” in ASL

Let’s explore a few examples of how to use the signs for “catch” in ASL:

  1. Situation: A friend tosses you a ball, and you catch it.

You: [Formal/Informal catch sign]

Friend: Nice catch!

  1. Situation: Watching a baseball game and someone makes an incredible catch.

You: Wow! Look at that catch! [Formal/Informal catch sign]

Friend: Yes! The outfielder is amazing.

  1. Situation: Playing a game of catch with friends.

You: Let’s play catch! [Formal/Informal catch sign]

Friend: Sounds fun, I’m ready!

Regional Variations

ASL is a rich and diverse language, with some regional variations in signs. However, when it comes to the sign for “catch,” there aren’t significant regional differences to note. The formal and informal signs mentioned earlier are widely accepted across different ASL communities.

Remember to be mindful of regional variations in other signs or aspects of ASL, as certain signs might have different meanings or variations depending on the signing community.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to say “catch” in ASL using both formal and informal signs. Remember to practice regularly, focusing on proper handshape and movement to ensure clarity in your communication. Whether you’re engaging in casual conversations or formal interactions, incorporating the sign for “catch” in ASL will enable you to express yourself fluently and effectively. Keep exploring the rich world of ASL, and enjoy your journey of learning this beautiful language!

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