Do you need to say Good at or Good with in your sentence? Which is correct? Read this post and learn how to use these natural English expressions. (Watch the video version of this post for English listening practice. The video is at the end of this post.)
|Good at is most often followed by a verb|
|“Greg is good at fixing cars.”|
|Good with will be followed by a noun|
|“Greg is good with cars.”|
From our example sentences:
- Fixing is the gerund form of the verb to fix.
- Cars is the plural form of the countable noun car.
Good AT – grammar
The preposition AT
The preposition AT is a common English preposition with many uses. It is often used with adjectives to show how well somebody does something.
- Kelley is good at drawing. She drew a picture of our teacher that looked very real.
At is used with negative adjectives too.
- I’m terrible at cooking.
We use good at with a verb. The verb will be in its gerund form. (+ing)
“My dad is good at playing the piano.”
You may have also heard examples like this.
“My cousin is really good at soccer. He has been playing since he was 4 years old.”
This is the same as saying:
“My cousin is really good at playing soccer. He has been playing since he was 4 years old.”
When we say good at a sport or good at a subject, the gerund form of the verb is understood, so we don’t need to include it.
I’m good at baseball. I can play any position on the field. = I’m good at playing baseball.
“My brother was good at many sports in high school. He played rugby, basketball, and softball.”
“Victor is good at math. He always gets an ‘A’ in math class.”
FAQ – Frequently Asked Question
Can I say “My Dad is good at the piano.”?
We can say “My Dad is good at the piano.” but this pattern is not as common with musical instruments.
“My Dad is good at playing the piano.” is better…
BUT “My Dad is a good piano player.” is the most natural way to say this.
“I was a good trumpet player in high school.”
GOOD AT – use in a sentence
My student is an engineer. He always helps me when I have trouble with my laptop. He’s good at fixing computers.
A: The brakes on my bicycle don’t work well.
B: Let’s ask my Dad to look at it. He’s good at fixing things.
(This is a general statement that means my Dad can fix many things. He is handy.) handy – adjective – able to use your hands or tools to make or repair things well Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
My Grandma is good at making cookies. I always loved to visit her when I was a child.
University can be scary sometimes. For many students, it’s their first time living away from home. My university had great counselors, they were good at making the students feel more comfortable at school.
My Japanese teacher was very good at explaining new grammar. She always made it easy to understand using natural example sentences.
Good WITH – grammar
There are more than 15 ways to use the preposition WITH. When with is paired with the adjective good it means – used to show the way in which somebody does something
- Keith is very good with his hands. (This means he can do many things with tools that you use with your hands. It’s another way to say someone is handy.)
We can also use this meaning without the adjective good.
- In the Summer I always sleep with the window open.
When say good with we will use an uncountable noun or the plural form of a countable noun.
Helen is good with money. (Money is an uncountable noun)
Alec is good with people. (People is the plural form of the countable noun person.)
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GOOD WITH – use in a sentence
Good with children – Have a talent for understanding and communicating with children. To get along with children well. (Children is the plural form of child.)
My cousin is a third-grade teacher. She is good with children.
Learn the Suffix EN
Good with people – Easy to get along with others; friendly
A: Julia just got promoted to manager.
B: I’m not surprised, she’s good with people. I’m sure she will be a good manager.
Good with animals – To be comfortable around and enjoy being with animals.
Her brother is a vet. He has always been good with animals, ever since he was a boy. (Vet is short for veterinarian. This is an animal doctor.)
Good with money – To use money well. To be good at saving money and not waste it.
Bill saved up enough money to buy a car when he was still in high school. He is good with money.
To make the sentences negative 🛇
We can add the word ‘NOT’ before good to make our sentences negative.
She’s NOT good with people.
He’s NOT good at geography.
I’m NOT good with numbers.
We’re NOT good at baseball.
Good vs well
Good is an adjective. One meaning of good is – of high quality
Adjectives are used with nouns
“My Dad is good at the piano.”
Well is an adverb. One meaning of well is – in a good way
Adverbs are used with verbs.
“My Dad plays the piano well.”
Comparison and superlative
The comparison and superlative forms of GOOD are BETTER and BEST. These all work in the same expressions.
“My brother is better at soccer than me, but I’m the best at hockey.”*The superlative form BEST will follow the article THE. Best means #1, so it is only talking about one person or thing.
A: Lisa is better with children than Amy. She has more patience.
B: I agree. Out of all of our staff, Lisa is number one. She is the best with her students.
*Good with people can be used with a specific group of people.
Out of all of our staff, Lisa is the best with her students.
Oliver is good with his staff.
We can also use other adjectives with a similar feeling.
Awesome AT/WITH – Great AT/WITH – Fantastic AT/WITH
Brian is awesome with computers.
Wendy is great at soccer.
My wife is fantastic with my family.
THINGS can be Good AT something too.
Good AT can show that someone has skill, but we sometimes use Good AT with things to show that they are helpful or useful.
Masks are good AT preventing you from spreading germs to others.
Good FOR is also used with things.
This stretch is good FOR your shoulders.
Good AT or Good WITH – Conclusion
Remember to use Good at before a verb and Good with before a noun and your English will sound natural. What are you good at? Is there something you are really good with? Leave a comment for me at the bottom of this post.
Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills!⇩
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