Friday, June 15, 2007

Good vs. Well

Native speakers of English often confuse good and well, and it is common to hear good instead of well, especially in speech. So, what is the difference?

Good is an adjective, and thus modifies a noun. It can also be used after linking verbs such as be, feel, taste, look, smell.
  • This coffee tastes really good.
  • Rebecca is known for her good behavior.
  • Fred does a lot of good deeds. He belongs to three or four charities.
Well, on the other hand, is usually an adverb. It modifies a verb.
  • She did well in practice yesterday.
  • She speaks French well.
  • Karen cooks very well for a third-grader.
The confusion between the two words probably comes from the fact that, when talking about how someone feels or looks, we can use well (in this meaning it is used as an adjective).
  • Sarah felt well enough to go to class today, but she didn't look well.
  • Do you feel well?
EXERCISES
These are some good exercises to practice how well you understand the difference between these similar words.
  1. Harry speaks ________ French, but he doesn't speak Italian very ________ .
  2. The internet is a ________ place to get updated news.
  3. Martha plays the guitar very ________ . She isn't a very ________ piano player, however.
  4. Mary doesn't look ________ . Is she sick?
  5. This cake tastes so ________ .
  6. Jan dances so ________ that she was chosen to appear on a TV dance program.
  7. My teacher is ________ , even though she couldn't explain the difference between good and well very ________ .
  8. I feel ________ about my test. I think I did ________ .
Answers:
  1. good / well
  2. good
  3. well / good
  4. good
  5. good
  6. well
  7. good / well
  8. good / well

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"when talking about how someone feels or looks, we can use well (in this meaning it is used as an adjective). Sarah felt well enough to go to class today, but she didn't look well."

#4 should then be well:
Mary doesn't look well. (reference to her health)

esra can said...

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