English Lesson: Good Vs Well

Michael Uncategorized 1 Comment

Have you ever been to Lombardi’s in New York City? The pizza there is so good. It is really good pizza. I think it is the best in New York. Now, I know pizza well, and I know New York well, so I am confident in my opinion here. The pizza is made well, with good ingredients and the taste is as good as it gets.

Good and well have similar meanings, but they are used differently. Do you know how to use these words? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:

Good is an adjective, and this means that it describes a noun. To find an adjective in a sentence, ask the question “What kind of…[noun]?” and the answer will be the adjective. For example:

  • The pizza there is so good. It is really good pizza. (What kind of pizza? Good pizza.)
  • They use good ingredients. (What kind of ingredients? Good ingredients.)
  • I think Bon Jovi is a good singer. (What kind of a singer is he? He’s a good singer.)

Well, on the other hand, is an adverb. An adverb is a word that describes a verb. To find an adverb in a sentence, ask the question “How do you know…[verb]? and the answer will be the adverb. For example:

  • I know pizza well. (How do you know pizza? I know it well.)
  • He sings very well. (How does he sing? He sings well.)
  • The pizza is made well (How is the pizza made? It is made well.)

These are the basic ways to use good and well. Now, let’s look at a few exceptions…

When we are talking about a person’s health or condition, we use well:

  •      Brad: Hey Angelina, how are you doing today?
  •      Angelina: I’m well, thanks. How about you?
  • Bob is not feeling well today.
  • Pink isn’t well, he stayed back at the hotel (from Pink Floyd The Wall)

When we describe how something feels, smells or tastes, we use good:

  • The leather seats in the car feel so good.
  • The pizza tastes good.
  • These roses smell so good.

Next, when we want to talk about how something looks, we can use good.

  • Your new hairstyle looks good!
  • I love how you reformed your garden. It looks good.

Compare the following and note the difference. When we talk about how a person looks, we can use good or well, but the meaning is different so be careful!

  • Mary looks good today. This means she looks attractive, pretty, etc.
  • Mary looks well today. This means she looks healthy. Perhaps she was ill yesterday.

Finally, in American English, using good to describe how you feel has become common, especially with teenagers:

  •      Brad: Hey Angelina, how are you doing today?
  •      Angelina: I’m good, how about you?

Well, I hope I did a good job of explaining the difference between good and well. Remember, let me know what you would like to learn here!

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