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Good vs Well

Updated on September 21, 2012

Good vs Well - Learn How to Use them Correctly

Good vs well is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the English language. The most common grammar mistake I catch in people's daily speech is misusing good and well. The English language has so many grammatical rules and to add to the confusion many of those rules have exceptions. It can make it difficult for someone to use proper grammar all the time, but this isn't the case with good vs well. One of these words is an adjective and the other is an adverb. All you need to know is which is which and the grammar rules of adjectives and adverbs and then you'll be armed with all the information you need to never misuse good or well again. I'm a certified English teacher and here I share everything you need to know about good vs well.

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About Good vs Well

My interest and love for teaching grammar began when I was just a little girl and it all started with learning about good and well.

I remember learning about the grammar rules of good vs well in fourth grade. Some lessons in school just stick. For most students it's a history lesson that they find particularly interesting or a science experiment that's super cool, but for me it was my fourth grade Language Arts lesson about how to correctly use good and well. My parents knew when I was nine years old that I was destined to become an English teacher when I began correcting their grammar. Picture a nine year old saying, "Mom you sure do cook well."

My dad used to tease me by always saying, "well that sure was good," just to create a sentence using both good and well. He often would mix the two words up intentionally too just to get under my skin. He's quite the kidder.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Good is an Adjective - Learn how to use good correctly

An adjective is a word that modifies (or describes) a noun. For example, the bold words in the following sentences are adjectives:

* We live in the green house.

* The tall tree is the one we need to cut down.

* That was a great movie.

Since good is an adjective, it is only used when describing a noun (person, place, or thing). It you are talking about someone, a location, or a tangible object then you need to use the word "good" to describe it instead of well.

Below are examples of the proper use of the word good:

  • That was a good show.
  • My daughter goes to a good school.
  • My husband did a good job polishing the hardwood floors.

Well is an Adverb - Learn how to use well correctly

Well is an adverb. That means it's a word that describes or modifies a verb. The bold words in the following sentences are examples of adverbs:

* Sarah sings beautifully

* Harold runs fast

* Tom works hard

Since well is an adverb, like the above examples, you use it instead of goo when describing an action. Below are examples of the word well being used correctly in a sentence:

  • My grandma cooks really well.
  • Jim sings well.
  • Cats see well in the dark.

Good vs Well - A closer look at whether to use good or well

Sometimes it can be a little tricky to know whether you should use well or good because at times a noun may appear to be a verb. For example when talking about a job someone completed rather than the act of completing it.

Here are several examples of the correct usage of good and well to help you better understand:

  • The contractor did a good job on our new kitchen. Good is modifying the noun job.

    The contractor designed the kitchen well. Well is modifying the verb designed.

  • Grandma's cooking is good. Good is modifying cooking, which in this case is a noun.

    Grandma cooks well. Well is modifying the verb cooks.

  • Carol sang a good song. Good is modifying the noun song.

    Carol sings well. Well is modifying the verb sings.

Good vs Well Lesson - Video lesson about using good or well

If you have any specific questions about when to use good or well, feel free to ask them here.

Did I Answer All of Your Questions About Good vs Well? - Thank you for visiting

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    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 4 years ago

      My wife is always correcting my grammar. It's something I really need to work on so thank you.

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 6 years ago

      Never thought of this lol. I do know fine is not good nor well ;)