Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Good and Well

english wordsGood vs Well

Knowing the difference between good and well is also knowing how to use good grammar. The way a person communicates offers quite a bit of information about them, and speaking well is important for solid communication.

‘Good’ is what we call an adjective, while ‘well’ is known as an adverb. While this might not mean much on the surface, it has everything to do with where and how each word is used. An adjective modifies a noun, or gives it further descriptive meanings. ‘A good steak’ can be different from ‘a steak’. Without an adjective, you don’t know anything about the noun, other than it exists.

An adverb, while typically believed to modify verbs, is really a word used to modify anything that cannot be modified by an adjective. ‘The event went well’, for instance, is proper use of this particular adverb.

Then we have the linking verb, which is what makes the difference between good and well so difficult for many of us to really understand. The best way to discern the difference is to figure out whether you are referring to an action or an object. The action is generally described as ‘well’ – ‘I felt well’, or ‘I played the game well’. An object is more likely to be described with the word ‘good’ – ‘It is a good baseball game’, or ‘she is good at sports’.

Linking verbs are your exception. These are verbs that are used as connectors between a direct relation of the subject and verb. ‘Dinner (subject) smells (verb) good (linking verb)’.

In an effort to reduce speech and proper English into a quick thought pattern that applies to everyday talking patterns, simply consider whether the sentence in question is one you can do well. Obviously, we don’t say things like ‘Dinner smells well’, so we automatically can hear that we should transition to good. ‘I can ice skate well’, makes sense.

It’s not recommended that you try the same trick with ‘good’, because many of us already have an associated misplacement of the word. ‘I can ice skate good’, only sounds out of place if you already know that it is incorrect.

It is much more natural for the word ‘good’ to be improperly used than the word ‘well’. This is due to a relaxation in the structure of English that has become intermingled with our everyday speech. While these two words are still considered to be errors when they are improperly used, it is less noticeable because so many people do it.


· Good is classified as an adjective.

· Well is classified as an adverb.

· Use ‘well’ when ‘good’ sounds out of place.

· ‘Good’ is often improperly used.

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1 Comment

  1. Things taste good, they are done well!

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