When I started learning Chinese, my language partner (from Taiwan) taught me that the phrase 很會 can be used to indicate ability. I don’t use it all the time, because in Chinese there are alternatives such as:


But sometimes an expression such as 很會 comes in handy because you don’t need to know the associated verb. Such a case would be:


Now it has happened a few times that people say 很會 sounds strange. I opted to replace it with 善於,工於,長於,but it seems people don’t immediately understand me (perhaps because these expressions are too literary as compared to the overall level of my Chinese).

Is 很會 regional or slang? What should I pay attention to, when replacing it with 工於,善於,長於? Are these limited to set phrases? Which of these last three is most universally applicable?

  • 2
    善於,長於 are more literary; 很會 is more colloquial , they all mean "good at; skilled in" ; "工於" is not commonly used , you see it mostly as a part of the phrase "工於心計"
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 14, 2017 at 19:38

3 Answers 3


"很會" emerged in modern time, used in vernacular chinese. imo, it's ok in most usages, just plain dull :(

well, to enrich your vocabulary, here're some alternatives:




閑熟六藝 is roughly "skilled at six arts"

精, 究


究韜略 is roughly "good at strategy"

精武藝 is roughly "skilled in martial arts"


roughly "the sister of prime minister was good at drawing"

have fun :)

  • These are interesting! What is the purpose of 達 in the last example sentence?
    – Ludi
    Dec 15, 2017 at 22:26
  • @Ludi I believe that's prime minister's first name.
    – NS.X.
    Dec 15, 2017 at 23:08
  • yes, it's his name. btw, last one is quoted from 拾遺記 卷八. Dec 16, 2017 at 5:15

很会&很is similar. but "很会" is usually used before a verb, such as 她很会做饭(she is good at cooking). "很" always used before a adjective,such as 她很美(she is beautiful.)



This is fun.. haha.. This just doesn't fit, vernacular + literary 丞相達之妹善畫﹒巧妙無雙。她很會做饭

haha or this is more literary, but weird 丞相達之妹善畫﹒巧妙無雙。她善於做饭

better :)😂 丞相達之妹善書畫,精究烹煮﹒巧妙無雙。還有,她很會吃飯。

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