Well or Good?

Have you ever found yourself hesitating between using “well” or “good” in a sentence? If so, you’re not alone. These two words often lead to confusion due to their seemingly interchangeable nature.

The difference between “good” and “well” lies in their roles as adjectives and adverbs, as well as their use in different contexts.

Good (adjective):

“Good” is an adjective, and adjectives are used to describe nouns or pronouns.

Accordingly, in the sentence She is a good singer, good describes the quality of the singer.  Same goes for This is a good book (good describes the quality of the book) and What a good idea (good describes the quality of the idea).

Well (adverb):

“Well” is an adverb, and adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

“Well” indicates how an action is done or how well something is performed. In the sentence She sings well, well describes how she sings. In He did well on the exam, it describes how well he performed, whereas in The car runs well, it describes how the car runs.

It’s essential to recognize when to use “good” as an adjective and “well” as an adverb. Confusion often arises when people use “good” as an adverb, which is considered grammatically incorrect, even though it is common in informal speech.

  • Incorrect: She sings good.
  • Correct: She sings well.
  • Incorrect: He did good on his job interview.
  • Correct: He did well on his job interview.

Remember the general rule: “good” describes nouns, and “well” describes verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

*However, there is an exception! “Well” can also be used as an adjective to describe someone’s health.

For example:

  • She is well after recovering from the flu.
  • The doctor said I’m well now.

In these cases, “well” functions as an adjective and describes the health of the person.

While the lines between “well” and “good” can appear blurry, we’ve clarified their distinct roles. Remember that “well” often focuses on how the action is done or we use it to describe health, while “good” describes nouns or pronouns.