Which One is Correct?
We ask and answer the question, “how are you?” each day many, many times. The responses we hear vary. For example: “I’m well, thanks.” “I’m good.” However, which is correct?
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Let’s take a look at some guidelines that will help you determine when to use “good” and “well.” In order to do this, we need to look at the verb in a sentence we use with these words as they will tell us whether we should use “good” or “well”.
We have two kinds of verbs in English:
Action verbs describe actions. Examples of action verbs include the following: “eat,” “work,” “drive,” and “run.”
Use “well” to describe an action verb: When we describe an action verb, we use an adverb, such as “well.” An adverb answers the question “how.”
Look at the following examples
Linking verbs connect or “link” the subject of the sentence with more information about it. They do not express action. Linking verbs include forms of the verb “to be”, (am, are, is, was, were), express senses (such as “smells”, “looks”, “tastes”, “sounds”) and include verbs such as “feel”, “seem”, and “appear.”
Use “good” after a linking verb: When we use a linking verb, we use an adjective to describe the subject, such as good.” If you can substitute a form of the verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, were) for the verb in a sentence, then it is probably a linking verb.
Look at the following examples:
So, to summarize, the general rules are:
OK, now here is the tricky part:
Right about now, you might be saying that you hear people say, “I’m well” all the time. Are they all wrong?” No, they are not wrong, and this is why:
Can we ever use “good” after an action verb? No, it is never grammatically correct to use the adjective “good” after an action verb. For example, it is incorrect to say, “He speaks good.” We must say, “He speaks well.”
I hope you now feel “good” about using the words “good” and “well” and that you will now speak and write “well!”
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