29/6/18 The Difference between Good and Well

Good

Good is an adjective, which means that it modifies nouns.

  • This is a good movie
  • What a good idea!
  • You speak good English

Good can be used with copular verbs (that is, verbs which express a state of being, such as to be, to seem, and to appear), but it is still an adjective modifying a noun, not a verb.

  • This movie is good
  • His ideas are good
  • Your English is good

Well

Well is an adverb, which means that it modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

  • Did the movie do well at the box office?
  • It was a well-defined idea
  • You speak English well

Well can be used as an adjective to mean “in good health.”

  • You look well
  • I don’t feel well

The Bottom Line

The confusion between good and well comes from their similar meanings, and a general confusion between adjectives and adverbs. Take a moment to think about what the word is modifying: if it’s a verb, you’d do well to use well; otherwise, the good choice is good.

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