Editing for Grammarphobes: Good Versus Well

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



How many times have you heard the following statement on television or in conversation?

He played good.

Too many times to count? Well, it is wrong. The correct usage is as follows.

He played well. 

But why?

“Well” is an adverb. Adverbs describe verbs. When used as an adverb, “well” means “skillfully.”

“Well” as an adjective means “healthy.” You would not say someone played healthy, would you?

“Good” is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns, not action verbs.

Examples

She did a good job.

My breakfast tasted good this morning. 


Coming Friday 

Parenthood month on "Flash Fiction Fridays" continues with a great fable from Camille LaGuire.

Comments

R said…
Not to get snarky, KZ, but if you direct your posts at discussing actual policies rather than displaying your ire at individuals and leave out the personally-directed euphemisms, derogatory descriptors, and silly name-changing (Obummer, etc.) you're much less apt to run afoul of any BBS violations. I strive to always use the correct names and spellings for individuals proceeded by either their title or Mr., Mrs, or Ms. even when referring to people with whom I vehemently disagree. It's just common courtesy and shows respect for the individuals being discussed.

Reminds me of that old Hawaiian joke about the early missionaries to the Islands who later became plantation owners: "They came to do good and wound up doing very well."

Good blog, by the way.
R. Doug Wicker said…
Ooops. Please disregard the first part of the above comment. I don't know how that happened. It posted before I finished editing and somehow pasted a comment I made on a BBS to boot.

I'm so embarrassed.
No worries, but I was wondering what the heck I said to offend you and/or this KZ. :)

Thanks for stopping by.
angel011 said…
Isn't Good Versus Well something kids learn in elementary school? I remember we did, as an example of a common mistake.
Yes, and, unfortunately, few seem to remember.

Thanks for reading.
Kelly Hashway said…
As a former English teacher, I'm a stickler for this rule. I used to give my students extra credit if they could catch their parents using these words incorrectly. They thought it was fun to correct their parents and they learned the rule at the same time.
Great idea, Kelly. Thanks for stopping by.
Janel said…
This rule is one of my grammar pet peeves. It drives me nuts when people use the wrong word!

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