Good vs Well

The English words good and well are often confused by native and non-native speakers of English – this is a good lesson that will put you well on your way to understanding the difference.

Good

Good is an adjective, which means that it modifies nouns.

This is a good movie

What a good idea!

You speak good English

Good can be used with copular verbs (that is, verbs which express a state of being, such as to be, to seem, and to appear), but it is still an adjective modifying a noun, not a verb.

This movie is good

His ideas are good

Your English is good

 
Well

Well is an adverb, which means that it modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Did the movie do well at the box office?

It was a well-defined idea

You speak English well

Well can be used as an adjective to mean "in good health."

You look well

I don’t feel well

 
The Bottom Line

The confusion between good and well comes from their similar meanings, and a general confusion between adjectives and adverbs. Take a moment to think about what the word is modifying: if it’s a verb, you’d do well to use well; otherwise, the good choice is good.

 
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