I have seen this sentence somewhere:

I think I'm useless at sports.

Does it mean that you cannot play any sports? If yes, then can we use "be useless at" in general or it is right only in this particular case?

2 Answers 2


To be useless at sports doesn't mean you literally can't play, it just means you're not any good at it.

This is especially applicable to team sports: some people are so bad that they're useless to the team – the team would have just as good a shot at winning if that person wasn't playing at all, and the team just played a man down.

For individual sports, the phrase makes a little less sense, but you would still be understood if you said you're useless at golf. That's because it's a fairly common phrase that, yes, you can use more generally as well (in non-sports contexts).

Useless at sewing = any shirt you try to make is probably going to fit poorly and fall apart quickly.

Useless at camping = you probably aren't very good at setting up a tent or starting a fire.

Et cetera.


The function is:

to be good/perfect/bad/useless/etc at something (doing something)

or some other alternatives, which could sometimes be impolite:

e.g. You're not made for this man! You suck at (playing) volleyball!

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