At/in, so/as & well/good

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Anatoly

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May 24, 2003
Hello, dear teachers
I’d like to know how to say correctly:
1.I’m not so well at English as you are.
2.I’m not so good at English as you are.
3.I’m not so well in English as you are.
4.I’m not so good in English as you are.
5.I’m not as well at English as you are.
I’d rather prefer the first one :wink:
Thanks in advance!
 

Lib

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You can be 'good at', 'bad at', 'great at' doing things, so the preposition is 'at'.
After the verb 'to be', we don't usually use adverbs, so you must use 'good'.
Because the sentence is negative, you can use either 'as' or 'so'. I prefer 'as', but that doesn't mean it's better. According to grammar rules I've read, 'so' can go in negatives of this kind and 'as' can go in either negative or positive sentences.
I would say: I'm not as good at English as you (are).
It would also be correct to say: I'm not so good at English as you (are).
What do the rest of you think?
 

Anatoly

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Thank you very much, Lib. It's a very clear explanation. Now I see my mistake. I always have a lot of difficulties with the things mentioned in the subject line, especially with prepositions.
 

RonBee

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I would say, "I'm not as good at English as you are."

BTW, I agree with Lib's analysis.

:)
 

Tdol

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While 'so' is fine, I would naturally use 'as' whether positive or negative. 'So' is correct, but I think it's making its way out of use. ;-)
 

Lib

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Yes Tdol, I agree that 'so' is disappearing, but it hasn't gone yet. However, being good 'in' something sounds weird to me ... it sounds Spanglish, or at least interfered with by some other language. You live in England (I think), so ask other 'real' speakers if they'd say it. If it's no trouble of course... thanks.
 

RonBee

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I did a Web search for the phrases in question and came up with some interesting results.

"good at English" = 7,800
"good in English" = 6,680

I doubt that many native speakers say "good in English", but apparently many ESL speakers do.

It's understandable if ESL learners learn that "proficient in English" is acceptable that they think "good in English" is too. It's a natural assumption. My guess is that is it likely to become even more common--at least among ESL learners.

Says Venkatesh, “I was never that good in English, but with the extra exams that the school conducted for SSC students in January I was able to improve my writing skills.”
http://www.mid-day.com/metro/lokhandwala/2003/july/57652.htm

I WISH to point out the mistake in saying a person is “good in English” or “good in her studies”. It should be “good at”.
http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2001/9/4/features/moe04

"good in English"
http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2001/10/26/features/moe2610
 

Tdol

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Lib said:
Yes Tdol, I agree that 'so' is disappearing, but it hasn't gone yet. However, being good 'in' something sounds weird to me ... it sounds Spanglish, or at least interfered with by some other language. You live in England (I think), so ask other 'real' speakers if they'd say it. If it's no trouble of course... thanks.
Just about everybody I know does not use 'so'. ;-)
 

Lib

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Yes, I agree Tdol. I got confused, I thought it was you who had said that you prefer 'I'm not so good in English'. It was, in fact, ESL-lover.
[/quote]
 

Tdol

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'So' survives in a few phrases like 'so long as' where it's fairly common, but other than that I don't hear it much. ;-)
 
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