Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be good at (something)

To be good at something is self-explanatory: it means exactly what it says. If you are good at something, you have a talent, skill or ability that other people can recognize as being good or excellent.

1. Most people think they are good at singing… until someone tells them otherwise, or until one day they hear their voice recorded.

2.  Brazilians are good at mixed martial arts and soccer, the French are good at making wine and cheese, Africans are good at learning many languages, the Kenyans are good at long-distance running, the Israelis are good at innovating new technology. What are people from your country good at (At least according to the typical stereotype)?

3. Most people say, “I used to be good at (something)”. What did you used to be good at? Do you think you could be good at it again?

4. I’m not normally good at telling jokes. It doesn’t come naturally to me.

5. I’m usually good at remembering peoples’ names, but it’s a different story when I haven’t seen someone for a few years.

6. If you are successful in your profession/ job, you are good at what you do. Do you think you’re good at what you do, or could you easily be replaced by someone better?

7. You will never know whether you are any good at doing something until you try. Sometimes people discover they have “hidden talents” when they give it a shot (try).

8. What subjects were you good at when you were at school? …Biology, Math, Science, Geography? Did you like any particular subject because you enjoyed the teacher?


  1. I'm good at procrastinating. I'm not proud of it though.

    Question: Should I put a comma before the word "though" in this case? =]

    Have a nice day!

  2. Interesting question Marcos. Don't split hairs on this, unless you want to improve your English grammar for your thesis or doctorate papers. Most native English speakers are unaware of this rule... it doesn't matter though. Technically it should be there, because it introduces another clause (even though it is at the end of a sentence instead of the "but" at the beginning of the clause).
    I agree with what someone wrote in a yahoo forum, "You could leave it out on grounds of style, though strictly speaking, to do so would be incorrect." I wouldn't worry about it if I were you, though!

  3. Marcos, I'd use the word "however" instead of "though" at the end of the sentence, and wouldn't put a comma before (as the rule goes).

    I'm not good at singing, but I don't like the sound of my recorded voice as well.

    As for me, it's almost impossible that someone used to be good at something and then completely wean off from it. And even if that's the case, it's way easier to catch up with the skill.

    Frank, I'd like to make a small request regarding English idioms. In Russian we have an idiom "наступить на те же грабли" (literally "tread on the same rake"), which means to make the same mistake again. I couldn't find a similar meaning connected to the word "rake" in English however. Can you suggest something?


  4. This blog is great!!! I'm learning a lot. Thanks...

  5. I have a doubt: In a question can I use only "any" or it's possible to use "some"? (for example: Did you like any particular subject because you enjoyed the teacher?)

    Thanks for helping me!

  6. Hi Mary, yes... as you suggested, you can use "some"... both "any" and "some" are OK. Nice to hear that you like the blog Mary! I hope to see you back here!

  7. Hi Eugene,
    there is an expression in English, "to step on a rake", which doesn't have the same meaning in Russian... and neither does it refer to a repeated action/ mistake:

    First of all, the expression makes absolute sense when translated directly into English, although it's not a popular saying... but why not make it more popular in English... I think it's great. Something becomes more popular the more it is used. There are many foreign proverbs that we use in English, directly translated from other languages, which have become popular sayings... for example: "Many hands make light work" - probably by Confucius.

    Now... as to an expression in English... there is an expression that comes from the Bible, which is not only confined to "religious" circles: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly"... another saying, "A washed pig returns to the mud". I must point out, though, that these sayings talk about repeating a mistake, they speak more to the character of a person.

    Some other expressions that come to mind:
    To not learn from (one's) mistakes.
    Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them (quote)

    I can't really think of an expression that fits all experiences in general... but maybe if you give me a specific situation I could come up with an example.

    Another possibility is to use an idiom in English, followed by again... for example: "I've put my foot in it again!". To put your foot in it is to say the wrong thing... to say something you regret.

    For now we'll have to stick with the Russian expression, especially since it's self-explanatory.

    Bye for now!

  8. Hey, Frank and pluton. Thank you!

    By the way , I'm also good at forgetting to subscribe to the posts.

  9. Thanks, Frank, for such a comprehensive comment. I'll think about it.

    Marcos, subscribe to the RSS feed once and you won't miss new posts.

  10. I think Marcos may be talking about subscribing to new comments as well?? I usually forget about subscribing to comments. If you want to be sure to receive en email every time I make a post... just put your email address in the "RECEIVE VIA EMAIL" widget in the right-hand margin at the top of the blog... you will only get a few lines and a link, though... which will bring you to my blog... but the point is that it will be a reminder for when you have the time to check out a new post.

  11. Oh, got it. That's a very good point I must say, because I have the same problem actually. I don't know how to subscribe to new comments here unless I've got a blogger account.

  12. I was talking about new comments, but now I've found it.

    I've been subscribed to the blog for about one year now.

    pluton8, go to the bottom of the page. There you'll find the link to subscribe to new comments related to that post..

    A hug!

  13. Aha, I've found it now. Thanks a lot, Marcos.

    Unfortunately, it's not the most convenient way. Firstly, you need to remember to subscribe to the feed (exactly what Marcos was talking about). Secondly, your RSS reader will end up having a lot of subscriptions.

  14. I'm not to clued up about RSS readers since I don't use them myself... but if you have any suggestions as to how to make it easier for people to follow comments etc, please let me know and I would be more than happy to make some changes. Also... another possibility for some people is posting comments on my Facebook page... I think that whenever you post a comment there it automatically sends all further comments to your email (if you've set FB up that way). I must say that I prefer the comments on my blog though. Either way, there are not that many comments on FB or my blog. Comments are kind of rare :(

  15. As for me, an easier way to subscribe to follow-up comments on your blog is to create a Blogger account, which I had to do. Then having logged in, you are able to click the link Subscribe below this comment form, and you're set. As easy as pie.

    Regarding fb, I don't use it at all, so I can't help you there. However, I promise to leave more comments here. :) I've also come across other commenters on your blog, maybe, they'll become more active.

  16. Thanks Eugene (Pluton),
    Always great to hear from you... anytime.

  17. I use my Google account to post comments. Maybe that's why the subscribe link automatically appears below the comment box.

  18. Some people say I'm good at taking a difficult subject and turning it into something easy to understand.