Each player or pair takes position either side of a net, on a rectangular court marked on the floor, as shown in the diagram below:
Diagram of a badminton court.
The object of the game is to hit a shuttlecock (more colloquially, "bird" or "birdie") using a racquet, over the net such that the opposing player or pair cannot hit it back before it hits the floor and the shuttlecock does not land outside the marked court. For every time this is achieved, the player or pair scores one point, if they were serving. If the opposing team was serving, there is a change of server. The first player or pair to reach 15 points (11 points for women) wins a game.
A badminton match can be made up of any odd number of games (usually 3). The winner of the match is the first to win more than half the number of games (e.g. the first to win 3 games in a 5 game match).
In both singles and doubles, there is a change of service when the server loses a point. In doubles, the first team to serve has one player serve. All other times, both players on the team serve in succession.