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How do you say 'to be good at something' in German?

  1. Meine Mutter ist sehr gut dazu, dass sie das Haus sauber hält.
    My mother is very good at keeping the house clean.

  2. Ich bin sehr gut im Lernen (von) der deutschen Sprache.
    I am very good at studying the german language.

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"Meine Mutter ist sehr gut dazu, " would be translated as "My mother is a good tool to, " –  Vogel612 Nov 8 '13 at 13:35
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

1) Meine Mutter ist sehr gut darin, das Haus sauber zu halten.
2) Ich bin sehr gut im Lernen der deutschen Sprache.

There's a comma after „darin”, but you don't need a comma after „im”.

That's the exact translation, but normally you don't say that in German often. We rather use something like this:

1) Meine Mutter hält das Haus sehr gut sauber.
(My mother keeps the house cleaned very well.) <-- not sure if this is correct :P

2) Ich lerne die deutsche Sprache sehr schnell.
(I learn the german language very fast.)

The use of "sehr gut" is not always the best. If you are learning good, it means fast I guess.

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I disagree on that you don't normally say that. You do with simpler syntactic structures: "Sie ist gut in Mathe", "Er ist gut im Fußball", "Er ist gut darin, anderer Leute Mimik zu lesen". –  elena Nov 8 '13 at 12:26
    
@elena: IMO more than "gut sei in" we use "kann gut": "er kann gut Fußball spielen", "Mein Vater kann gut kochen", or we simply use "gut" as an adverb: "Er spielt gut Fuball". –  Takkat Nov 8 '13 at 13:35
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@Takkat We say both: "Sie ist gut in Mathe, aber kann nicht kochen." is fine. Though, "Sie kann Mathe, aber ist nicht gut im Kochen" might be a little odd. –  Em1 Nov 8 '13 at 13:40
    
Yeah sure, it depends much on the context whatever we prefer to use. With talent from school we indeed hear "gut sein" very often. This may come from the grades "Er ist "gut" in Mathe" where "in" then refers to the class. –  Takkat Nov 8 '13 at 13:46
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