Good or Well?
The words good and well are often confused but they have different meanings and grammatical roles. As a general rule, we can say that good is an adjective and well is an adverb.
Try these exercises to test yourself
Usually, we use good as an adjective and well as an adverb. However, it's important to recognize that these words can also have other grammatical functions.
Good as an adjective
The word good usually functions as an adjective. It describes the quality or nature of a noun. Good means 'of a high quality, standard, or level'. For example, "He is a good friend", or "This is a good book". In these sentences, good directly modifies the noun and tells us more about its positive attributes.
Well as an adverb
On the other hand, well usually functions as an adverb. It modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. It describes how an action is performed or the manner in which something exists. For example, "She sings well", or "He plays the piano well". Here, well provides information about the proficiency or skill level of the subject.
Good as an adverb
Good can also be informally used as an adverb in spoken English. Remember that using good as an adverb is considered informal and non-standard, and it's generally recommended to use well as the adverbial form of good in formal or written English.
Good as a noun
As a noun, good refers to qualities, actions, or things that are considered beneficial, valuable, or desirable. For example, in the phrase "separate the good from the bad", good is used as a noun. It's important to note that using good as a noun is less common than its use as an adjective.
- In the battle of ideologies, the clash between good and evil was unavoidable.
- Kindness and empathy have the power to do a lot of good in people's lives.
Well as an adjective
When used as an adjective, well means 'in good health'. In this sense, well is not usually used before a noun.
- I heard you're not feeling well. Get well soon.
Well as an interjection
Well can be used as an interjection to express various expressions and emotions.
- Well, I never expected to see you here.
- Well, well, well, what do we have here?
Well as a noun
When used as a noun, well usually refers to a deep hole in the ground from which people can get water, oil, or gas.
- The well's water sustained the entire community during drought.