Subject: Good vs Well

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Hey Friend,
do you know when to use 'good' and when to use 'well' correctly in a sentence or in formal writing? Check out the video below explaining this often confused grammar subject that gives writers special problems. 

Good and Well are modifiers
A good chef eats well so stays well.

Good modifies nouns:

the adjective good has three typical positions:

1. before the noun it modifies 
        ex.) They wanted to eat good food.

2. after a verb of being 
         ex.)  The presentation topic was a good idea.

3. after a linking verb 
          ex.) The spring flowers smell good.

  • Good should never be used as an adverb, which modifies a verb.
  • Use good when describing someone's emotional state.
                         ex) He doesn't feel good about having cheated on the test.
Well modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs: 

  • Well describes how something is done.

Incorrect/informal- James did good on his test.
Correct/formal- James did well on his test.


ex.) Unfortunately, I didn't hear your instructions very well.
ex.) How well did you do on your test?


  • Well may also be used as an adjective and may be interchangeable with good to indicate satisfactory conditions or health.

                      ex.) All is good in our city.  or  All is well in our city.
Rule: decide whether the four senses-- sight, smell, taste, touch-- are being used actively to determine whether to follow them with good or well.
(Hearing is always used actively.)

ex.) You smell good today. 
 You smell well for someone with a cold.
Why it matters in writing:

  • it is easy to confuse adverbs and adjectives
  • formal language uses standard forms
  • nonstandard constructions should be eliminated in formal writing
  • you want to seem credible in your speech and writing in academic and professional contexts

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