English Vocabulary: Describe Your Skills

You can use "good at" or "bad at" to talk about your abilities and skills - what you can do.

For example, to talk about school subjects:

"He's good at French."
"He's bad at Physics."

Because "at" is a preposition, you need to follow it with a noun or a gerund (an "ing" form):

I'm bad at Maths.
He's good at English.
You're good at spelling.

You can also use "any" in negatives and questions:

"I'm not any good at ..."

Are you any good at ...?

You can also use "no good at":
"I'm no good at ..."

You can use other adjectives in this way:

great at
brilliant at
fantastic at
terrible at
really bad at
hopeless at
useless at

Or you can the noun "expert":

"He's an expert in computer programming."

Talking about your skills

Here are some common (and not so common) skills in different categories. How many of these can you do?

Physical skills

Can you

... touch your toes

... stand on one foot

... do the splits

... touch your nose with your tongue

... swim 1 km non-stop

large__5863925532 ... raise just one eyebrow

Practical skills

Can you ...

... cook pasta with tomato sauce

large__3184485861... change a tyre on a car

... repair a bike

large__5229733311 ... use a drill

Workplace skills

Can you ...

... use Powerpoint

... work in a team

... write detailed reports

... deal with unhappy customers

Technological skills

Can you ...

... develop a website

... set up a computer

... create and upload a video

Personal skills

Can you ...

... speak a foreign language

... dance the tango

... sing in tune

... play a musical instrument

Increase your English!

Here are some useful verbs to help you develop your English vocabulary.

Verbs of physical movement

walk = put one foot in front of the other
run = walk very fast, like Usain Bolt!
swim = how you move in water
dance = move to music (dance the tango, break dance, etc)

Verbs for the body

touch = use your fingers or hand to feel something
stand = be on two feet, but don't walk
sit = don't stand or move (sit on a chair, sit down, etc)

speak = talk (speak a language)
sing = words to music (sing a song, sing a tune, sing the words)

Verbs for work

use = something that helps us to do something (use a drill, use Powerpoint, use a dictionary)
develop = start something from zero (develop your skills, develop a website)
deal with = look after, solve problems (deal with customers)

Photo credits: Collylogic, Robmba, Samuel L Livingston

Skills Vocabulary Exercise

Choose the correct answer.

1. Don't __ the dog!
2. Please __ down.
3. Can you __ the words of this song?
4. How many languages can you __ ?
5. How fast can you __ ?
6. Can you __ machines?
7. He can't __ a computer.
8. She can __ the guitar.
9. He can __ in English.
10. She can't __ well with others.

Now go on to the next page for vocabulary to talk about feelings: English Vocabulary: Feelings and Friendship