Good vs. Well

This video explains the difference between good and well—and, more importantly, when to use each one.

Grammar & PunctuationGrammar
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:27

...and the adverb “well” to modify action verbs.

00:31

Now, if you've never heard of a linking verb before...

00:34

...let us explain. A linking verb is a verb that is less about action and more about connecting

00:38

words together.

00:40

“To smell” can often be a linking verb, so let's look at it in an example with “good”

00:46

and “well”. When you say, “My grandma smells good”...

00:49

...you mean that she smells like the Chanel perfume she likes to wear...

00:55

...or the chocolate chip cookies she just finished baking.

00:58

You'd never say, “My grandma smells well”...

01:00

...unless you were bragging about her uncanny ability to hunt down dirty socks with her

01:04

super-sensitive nose. Let's look at some action verbs.

01:09

You wouldn't say “Elaine reads good”. You'd say “Elaine reads well”.

01:14

You wouldn't say “Mike plays the piano good”. You'd say “Mike plays the piano well”.

01:19

In these examples, the adverb “well” is modifying the action verbs “reads” and

01:23

“plays”. Using the word “well” can prove a little

01:26

confusing because, in some instances, “well” works as a predicate adjective.

01:31

The best example of this is when you say, “I am well.”

01:35

Here, the linking verb “am” and the predicate adjective “well” come together to mean

01:39

you're healthy, as in… you've fully recovered from an illness.

01:42

If, however, you haven't had to visit a doctor in ages...

01:45

...because germs wither up and die when confronted with your incredible immune system...

01:50

...and someone asks how you are...

01:52

...you may safely reply, “I'm good.” Remember, the rule is...

01:57

...use the adjective “good” after linking verbs...

01:59

...and the adverb “well” to modify action verbs.

02:03

Now, all you need for that road trip to Memphis is some beef jerky and a water bottle for…

02:09

emergencies.