Well vs Good
Though the two terms, well and good, sound the same, grammatically there is much of a difference between well and good. Good is used as an adjective whereas well is used as an adverb. There are times when good is used as a noun (merchandise or the noun good) too. Good is also used as an adverb to mean well in the informal language. In the same manner, though the primary use of well is when it is used as an adverb, there are times when it is used as an adjective. Well is also used as an exclamation (Well? Do you have the box with you?).
What does Good mean?
Derived from the Old English word gōd, good gives a positive meaning. It can be, as the Oxford English dictionary says, “having the required qualities; of a high standard,” as in,
His marks were not good enough for Harvard entrance.
Now, have a look at the following sentence.
He is a good athlete.
In the above sentence, the word good is used as an adjective. It describes what type of an athlete this subject, he, is. Furthermore, it is customary to describe a thing by the use of the word good. For example, in the sentence,
He has a good voice
The word, good describes a thing called voice.
The comparative and superlative forms of good are better and best respectively.
What does Well mean?
Look at the following sentence.
He ran well in the race.
In the above sentence, the word well is used as an adverb, describing how this person, he, ran.
It is important to note that an action is described by the word well. For example, in the sentence,
He sang well
The word well describes the quality of the action. If you think that you are good in something say cooking or singing, then you can use well to make your intentions clear. For example, you can say when somebody invites you to take part in a singing competition,
I can sing well too.
Here, the word well is used to express your intention that you would like to take part in the competition and that you are good in the art of singing.
The principle mentioned above cannot be applied to the use of the word good. Occasionally, the word well can be substituted by the word good. For example, in the sentence,
He sings good
The word well was occasionally replaced by the word good, but the substitution is optional.
The comparative and superlative forms of well are better and best respectively.
What is the difference between Well and Good?
- Good is generally known as an adjective. Well is known as an adverb.
- Good is used to describe a thing while well is used to describe an action.
- Both well and good carry the same meaning.
- Occasionally, good can replace well.
The two words, well and good are not interchangeable. However, they are often improperly used. Hence, follow the rule: use the word well whenever you find the use of good out of place.