I am good about getting things done.
I am good at getting things done.

So says my grammar book... But why "about"? Isn't it "at"? Is it the same?

  • 1
    Where did you find the sentence I am good about getting things done.? Is there any reason why you would think that sentence is correct when it contradicts your book?
    – oerkelens
    Jul 28, 2014 at 14:30
  • @oerkelens: is there any reason why you think that sentence is incorrect?
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:15
  • It looked weird to me at first, possibly also due to the original layout of your question. I had not come across I'm good about something in this meaning before, but I have now learned that it is not an uncommon expression :)
    – oerkelens
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


"I'm good about" is a colloquial expression, similar to "good at," but expressing a tendency to be disciplined about certain things, and can be trusted to do them:

I'm good about not eating after 8pm.

I'm usually good about not putting my ex-husband down in front of the children, but sometimes I just lose my cool - especially on the phone.

My sons are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves. I hardly ever have to remind them.

"I'm good at" expresses a talent or affinity for something:

I'm good at editing and I'm a fast typer.

My wife was very good at bookkeeping - she paid all the bills.

In your sentences, the first one expresses that the speaker knows that things have to get done and is disciplined about doing that, does them in a timely manner. In the second sentence, the speaker is very talented in that respect and knows how to get things done, it a good time manager, etc.

  • I'm the source.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:18
  • 5
    I made the answer up from my 50 years of speaking English as a native, 30 of those years working as a professional editor. If that's not good enough, let me know and I'll remove my answer. You have some attitude!
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:24
  • @username901345 From some reading in meta, it seems like there is a faction here that's pedantic about references. It makes me afraid that this is going to be just another one of those "mechanical research turk" stack exchanges. Jul 28, 2014 at 15:30
  • sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. But being an editor for many years doesn't render you Omnipotent. Language is Science. Evidence is Everything.
    – user2492
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:33
  • 4
    @username901345 The fact that people are urged to mention their sources when quoting something is understandable, but if you refuse to accept an unchallenged answer from a native speaker, I suggest you should not accept the opinion of someone just because it is published in a book. Good luck finding any but the most basic matters on which you can cite peer-reviewed research that all linguists agree on. Language can be approached scientifically, but that does not make it physics or mathematics. On the contrary!
    – oerkelens
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:39

They mean different things.

if you're good "good at getting things done", you're saying that you're skilled at getting things done. It doesn't imply that you will actually choose to get those things done.

if you're "good about getting things done" it means that people can rely on you to get things done. It doesn't imply any degree of skill directly, It just means that you will get the tings done.


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