Using Good and Well
Many English learners have difficulties with using good and well, especially at the initial stage of their learning. Let’s try to clear things out.
The main difference between good and well is:
Good is an adjective and well is an adverb.
- Jim is a good painter.
- Sarah paints well.
It is all clear, but things get complicated after some state verbs.
When do we use good?
We use good after state verbs such as be, taste, sound, smell, look, seem, feel if we want to describe the subject, not the action of the verb:
- The film wasn’t good at all.
- This dish smells good to me.
- The soup tastes good.
- I feel good today.
- Sara looks good today.
- The weather doesn’t seem good.
When do we use well?
We use well after the state verbs: be, feel, look, seem, etc. if we want to use the adjective form of well meaning ’healthy’:
- Jim feels well enough to leave the hospital.
- Fiona was well yesterday, but she feels sick today.
- Stay well!
Comparing good and well
For comparing things or actions, we use the word better instead of good and well.
- This soup is good, it is better than the soup you made yesterday.
- You did your homework very well. Much better than yesterday.
If you want to show that the subject or the action is the best, use the best for both good and well.
- Tom is the best salesman in the company.
- Jimmy speaks French the best in his class.
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