Level 2 Lesson 18 / to be good/poor at ~ / 잘 하다/못 하다

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안녕하세요. What are some things that you are good at? And what are some things that you are not so good at?

Find out how to say that in Korean through this lesson and let us know what you are good or bad at, in Korean! Leave us comments and we will help you make your sentences more natural!

Thank you as always for studying with us! 감사합니다.

You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.

  • Rysho

    저는 노래를 잘 해요. 전 다 음식 좋아해요 그리고 매운 거 잘 먹어요.

  • Ntshikeng Giggler Matooane

    저는 한국어 쓰기를 잘 못했어요 그런데 한국어 읽기를 잘 해요. 저는 그거 할 수 있어요.

    Hope that was correct ☺
    감사합니다, TTMIK 선생님들!!!!

  • Emily Norwood

    매은 것 먹을 수 있어요, 그런데 많이 안 좋아해요. The more I eat spicy food, the more l like it, though! ^.^

  • Mercy Cheng

    저는 운동을 정말 잘 못 해요 그래서 달리기도 수영도 할 수 없어요
    sad example, hope it’s correct.
    by the way, if I say 저는 운동을 하나도 잘 못해요, does it work to emphasize “not good at all” ?

    • Seokjin Jin

      You wrote the sentences well and you can use them, too.

      For the last sentence, we normally say “저는 할 줄 아는 운동이 하나도 없어요.”

  • Jan

    How does one say, “Yesterday, I ran well” ?
    어제 달리기를 잘 할거에요.
    어제 잘 다릴거에요.

    • KyungHwa Sun

      Hello Jan,

      You can say either 어제 잘 달렸어요 or 어제 달리기를 잘했어요. ^^

    • Jan

      Oops, looks like I used future tense when it should have been past tense! 감사합니다, 선생님 !

  • 레나티

    안녕하세요 TTMIK 선생님들,
    저는 선생님에게 질문을 있어요.
    “저는 매운 거 좋아하지만, 먹기를 잘 못 해요.
    그레서 너무 슬퍼요. ” 맞아요?

    정말 감사합니다~ TTMIK 짱이에요!
    Your lessons are really fun to listen to! Keep up your great work :))

    • Seokjin Jin

      저는 매운 거 좋아하지만, 먹기를 잘 못 해요.
      > 저는 매운 거 좋아하지만, 잘 못 먹어요.

      This is more natural. Oh, you did a good job! 잘 썼어요.

  • Gui Li

    저는 연기를 보기는 좋아하지만 연기를 별로 잘 못해요. – I love to watch people act but I can’t act that well.

  • Ryan Smalley

    저는 사람들 만나기를 잘 못 해요
    Would I need to add something to this if I wanted to clarify that it’s specifically new people that I’m not good at meeting?

    • Seokjin Jin

      In Korean, I would say 저는 처음 보는 사람을 만나는 게 어려워요 which means “it is hard for me to meet new people”.

    • Ryan Smalley

      오, 감사합니다!

  • Δrieƒ___♔

    안녕하세요 TTMIK 선생님들,

    저는 기억을 진짜 잘 했어요 . 이것 맞아요?
    I really can remember-well, is this right ?

  • Roberto Zepeda

    멕시코 사람도 매운 거 잘 먹어요.
    저는 멕시코 사람이에요, 그래서 매운 거 잘 먹기도 해요.

  • Angel

    저는 피아노을 잘 못 해요.
    근데 제 친구는 아주 잘 해요.

  • Soo na

    저는 요리를 잘 못해요,하지만 저는 먹기를 잘해요

  • Matt

    매운 거 잘 못 먹어요. = I can not eat spicy food well.
    한국어 말을 잘 못 해요. = I can not speak Korean well.
    와! 숫자 기억을 잘 해요! = Wow! You are good at remembering numbers!

    감사합니다 for the lesson!

  • Tanya Gandolfo

    저는 노래를 잘 해요 그리고 저도 잘 이야기를 쓰기 해요….

  • 나탈리아


    에어컨을 잘 팔아요. 그래서 많이 돈 있어요.
    소주하고 맥주를 잘 마셔요. 그런데 돈 없어요.
    편지를 잘 싸요. 그리고 편지를 남자침구한테 쌀 거예요.
    저는 요리를 잘 못 해요. 그래서 식당에서 먹을 거예요.
    저는 수영을 잘 못 해요. 그래서 해변을 안 가고 싶어요.

    TTMIK 감사합니다!

    • JooyeonPark

      Very good! :)
      a little correction here!

      그래서 돈이 많이 있어요.
      편지를 잘 써요. 편지를 남자친구한테 쓸 거에요.

    • 나탈리아


  • elian

    안년하세요! i have just one doubt:
    From the lesson i understood that when you want to mean that you can not do something or that you are bad at doing something you would use : something를 못 하다 while if you just mean that you are bad at doing something (so you can do it but not in a very good way) you would use : something를 잘 못 하다..(if i said it wrong can you correct me?) so if I understood well, why in the pdf you add 잘 in the following phrase: 저는 노래를 잘 못 해요 to mean I can’t sing well OR I’m not good at singing ? wouldn’t be instead : 저는 노래를 못 해요 ?


    • Grabby

      So, 저는 노래를 잘 못 해요 is “I can’t sing well” so you can’t sing very well but can sing a bit. However 저는 노래를 못 해요 is “I can’t sing” so you cannot sing at all, it’s a stronger statement regarding your singing abilities.

  • Sena Rainey

    학국어를 읽기를 잘 못 해요. I can’t read Korean well.
    수영을 잘 해요. I can swim well.

  • Nirali

    We use 쓰다 for ‘to write’ then in sample sentence why do we use 저는 글씨를 잘 못 ‘써요’?? Shouldn’t it be 잘 못 쓰요?

    • Grabby

      It’s to do with the conjugation of the verb. Because the last vowel in the verb stem is “ㅡ” you must add “ㅓ요” and in this case “쓰어요” doesn’t really work so it becomes “써요” instead. Kind of like how “가다” conjugated to “가요” not “가아요” for simplicity.

      Hope that made sense ^^ “쓰다” is such an interesting verb ㅎㅎㅎ

  • Jimmy (지민)

    저는 이제가 아직 도 한국어 말을 잘 못 해요

  • Bob

    저는 수영을 아주 잘 못해요!

    • JooyeonPark

      Did you mean “I swim but can’t do very well”? or “I don’t even know how to swim, i swim so badly”?
      Haha It can be both :)

  • Christie

    How do you ask someone “what are you good at?” is it just “뭐 잘 해요?”

  • Leela

    저는 하이힐을 잘 걷어요. = I am good at walking in high heels )

  • Ramses (람세스)

    저는 매운 거 정말 잘 먹어요 :)

  • http://batman-news.com Jangmi

    저는 수영을 잘 못 해요. 그런데 노래를 잘 해요. 그리고 매운 거 잘 먹어요.

  • Nawal

    ”저는 요리를 잘 해요 하지만 맨날은
    요릴 수 없어요 왜냐하면 시간이 없어요.” … 맞아요?
    감사합니다 TTMIK team :)

  • Maria Culp III

    한국 갔을 때 저는 매운 거 잘 못 먹어요. 한국에서 2 년 살었어요. 지금 매운 거 잘 먹어요. ;)

  • Bre

    나는 한국어 문법을 잘 못쓰지어요. 나는 아직도 한국어를 잘 못해요.

  • jeffderricksy

    저는 기분이 표현 잘 못 해요 그래서 다른 사람이 가끔 이해 못 해요.

  • Fred

    This language keeps getting better as I study it.

    매은 거 잘 먹어요? “Are you good at eating a spicy thing?”

    If you were to ask that in English it would make people wonder if it was food or not!

    The things you’re asking for in either language can be so different conceptually, yet we still are able to get the gist of what the other is saying. I wonder what words/phrases an intermediate English speaker would choose to say and how their native tongue affects their use of other languages. How does having English as a native language affect the way we speak Korean? What have you guys seen/heard English speakers say that you had to process a second before you could understand what they were talking about?

  • 엡아언니 ~Eva~

    때때로에 저는 매은 거를 먹어요, 그렇지만 조금 잘 못해요 >.<

    TTMIK, 정말 감사합니다!!

  • Buse Tılkı

    Hello dear teachers,Firstly thank u for that great website ! :) English is not my mother language but i will try to ask something important about that topic.

    잘 달리다 –> 달리기를 잘 하다 why did u add that 기 here.İ know that addition make the verb noun and u turned the 달리다 verb into a noun. But why did u do that ?

    İf it reason is that verb has not a 하다 part but when we talk about the 쓰다 it hasnt got a 하다 part too in original verb.
    So , can it be like 쓰기를 절 해요
    or different exampleS ; 배우다 > 저는 배우기를 잘 해요.
    잦다 > 잦기를 잘 못 해요
    맞아요 ?

    or should i write without 기 ?
    감사합니다 :)

  • yourippehdees

    명사를 잘 못 해요
    I’m not good at math.

    텔레비전을 잘 봐요.
    I’m good at watching TV.

    샤워에는 노래를 잘 만 해요.
    I’m only good at singing (when) in the shower.

    맥주랑 커피랑 포도주를 잘 마셔요.
    I’m  good at drinking beer, coffee, and wine

    • 아싸

      I think the third one should be: 샤워만 노래를 잘 해요. Because only IN THE SHOWER you are good at singing.

    • yourippehdees

      Thanks for the reply! I wondering then if you still need the location particle 에 to indicate ‘in’ the shower? 샤워에만 ?

    • 아싸

      Don’t know about this.

  • Maria Larsen

    저는 매운 거 전말 촣아요 그리고 잘 먹어요 ^_^
    As for me, I really like spicy food and eat it well.

    계속 공불 거예요 그래서 앞으로 잘 한국어 말할 거예요.
    I will continue to study so I will be good at speaking korean in the future.

    • 아싸

      In the first sentence. 전말->정말. In the second one 공불 거예요->공부할 거예요

  • Chua Wey Lin

    Annyeong haseyo Suhn Seng Nim, how to say I can’t read and write korean well in korean?
    I would want to introduce myself in a way that…..
    hang gul go, chogun halsu isseoyo – i can speak a little bit of korean, but i cant read and write well in korean…..any help??

  • 태연

    네, 매운 거 잘 먹어요. 그리고 저는 한국어 공부를 잘 해요 :)