Friday, February 24, 2006

Good is well

I've been busy this week, so today I'll write about a "classic" topic: "good" versus "well".

Some people think that these two words are interchangeable others are simply confused as to when they should use one or the other. Interchangeable they are not.

Good is an adjective. It modifies a noun. Only a noun.

That's a good painting. (modifies the noun "painting")

Well is an adverb. It can modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

How are you doing? I'm well, thanks.

In some situations (in modern usage), people use "good" instead of "well" to modify a verb- despite the fact that "good" can only modify a noun. Not only that, saying that "you are good" is a statement of morality and not well-being.

I asked some otherwise intelligent people about why there doing it and the replies average out to: everyone else is doing it. Is anyone else uncomfortable at that response? I hear jackboots marching down Maple Strasse in everytown USA. Everyone else is doing it. Indeed.

Of course, not everyone else is doing it. It doesn't cost anything to be correct in this case. The language is clearer. I urge each an every one of you to tell people that you are "well" and that things are going "well".
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