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  1. I am not conversant with Java
  2. I am not conversant in Java
    Which of the above two is correct?

3 Answers 3

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Use "with".

"Conversant" has two senses, one is *conversant with a subject" if one is "knowledgable about that subject". But one is conversant in a language if one is able to speak that language fluently and conversationally.

So you might be conversant in Mandarin, but as you don't speak a computer language, you would be conversant with Java.

If you are writing a CV or resume, you might want to use more precise language. "Conversant with Java" sounds very vague, as if you have no actual experience with the language.

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  • Thanks for the CV tip. Although this was part of a message on WhatsApp so I think in informal situations I can say that. But when it comes to important things like interviews etc, I understand it would be vague
    – nicku
    Oct 12, 2022 at 7:38
  • @James K, I beg to differ. Kindly see my answer for clarification.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 12, 2022 at 9:19
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Apparently both are correct. "Conversant with" is more common than "conversant in".

enter image description here

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=conversant+in%2Cconversant+with&year_start=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3&case_insensitive=true#

Both "conversant in" or "conversant with" can be used in the example sentences and elsewhere regardless of whether the subject matter is language or not. Follow the links to see occurrence of both "conversant in" or "conversant with" with "not languages" and "languages".

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22conversant+in%22&lr=lang_en&tbs=lr:lang_1en&tbm=bks&ei=JoRGY77EBKKTseMPuvyEwAk&start=10&sa=N&ved=2ahUKEwi-77fvq9r6AhWiSWwGHTo-AZgQ8tMDegQIDRAE&biw=1680&bih=795&dpr=2

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22conversant%20with%22&tbm=bks&lr=lang_en

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22i+am+conversant+with+french%22&lr=lang_en&tbs=lr%3Alang_1en&tbm=bks&ei=J4RGY_zDCNSTseMPoM2W2AI&ved=0ahUKEwi88_jvq9r6AhXUSWwGHaCmBSsQ4dUDCAg&uact=5&oq=%22i+am+conversant+with+french%22&gs_lp=Eg1nd3Mtd2l6LWJvb2tzuAED-AEBwgIEECEYCkjKigFQ8RRYkYEBcAB4AMgBAJABAJgBtgWgAc4eqgELMC42LjcuMC4xLjGIBgE&sclient=gws-wiz-books

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  • That's nice. But I think this doesn't show the context in which with and in are used. But Ngram seems to be a good tool for information
    – nicku
    Oct 12, 2022 at 7:39
  • Note to self: I would be spending less time on SE. I am beginning to understand why members of the forum with high rep frown upon questions without attendant research done by OP. The answer was there in ngram page right below the chart where links to book search results were given where the occurrence of the phrases in question were found.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 12, 2022 at 9:24
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Correct: I am not conversant with Java.

conversant with= having knowledge or experience of something

He is conversant with modern history.

conversant in= able to hold a conversation in a foreign language

He was conversant in French.

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