English Vocabulary Lesson: Good vs. Well

Michael Uncategorized 3 Comments

Ichiro plays very well. Everyone says he's a good player.

Ichiro plays very well. Everyone says he’s a good player.

A lot of people (including some native speakers) have trouble with good and will. Today, I am going to show you how to use these English words. Have a look at the paragraph below and see if you can catch the difference.

Do you know Lombardi’s in New York City? The pizza there is so good. I mean, it’s really good pizza. I think it’s the best in pizza in the Big Apple. Now, I know pizza well, and I know New York well, so I am pretty confident in my opinion here. The pizza there is made well, with good ingredients and the taste is as good as it gets.

From an English grammar point of view, good is an adjective and well is an adverb.

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?

In American English, using “good” to describe how you feel has become common. I’m sure you have probably heard people reply to “How are you” with “I’m good thanks” but that is not grammatically correct. “I’m well” means “I’m in good health and spirits.” However, “I’m good” means “I am a good person, not a bad person.” It’s a big difference, right? Here are some more examples:

  • Bob is not feeling well today.
  • I heard Jack is feeling well after his accident.

We also use well to describe how something is done or how someone does something:

  • The pizza is made well.
  • Jane sings very well.

We use good when we describe something:

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

We also use good when we describe how something looks:

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

One last point. When we talk about how a person looks, we can use good or well, but the meaning is different, so be careful!

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

Now it’s your turn. How about trying to write an original sentence using good or well as I just explained above. Use the comment box below and I’ll check your answers.