“Good” vs “Well”

This is a topic that people assume they know about … until they get it wrong. So, just to be safe, let’s go over the difference:

  1. Good is an adjective and a noun
  1. Well is an adverb and an adjective

Here are simple examples in which “good” and “well” are often used:

Jim dances well.

    Jim is a good dancer.

Now, let’s focus on the situations in which “good” and “well” become confusing, namely after linking verbs: We use “good” after linking verbs such as: be, taste, sound, smell, look, seem and feel.

if we want to describe the subject, not the action of the verb:

That episode of “Eastenders” wasn’t good at all.

    The answer choice seemed good, but it was wrong.

    Your suggestion sounds good to me.

    I feel good this morning. (Translation: I am happy this morning.)

We use “well“ after the linking verbs: be, feel, look and seem, (not the others listed above) if we want to use the adjective form of “well,” which means “healthy”:

   Jim feels well enough to go to school today. (Jim is healthy enough to go to school today.)

    Jake was well yesterday, but he is sick today. (Jake was healthy yesterday, but he is sick today.)

Pay attention to the following sentences:

I did WELL. = I did a good job; I succeeded.

   I did GOOD (noun). = I performed acts of charity and kindness.

   Jo looks WELL. = Jo looks healthy.

Jo looks GOOD. = Jo is attractive.

   I feel WELL. = I don’t feel sick.

I feel GOOD. = I am happy.


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