Good vs. Well

How are you today?  I’m good, thanks.

Today’s topic of the usage of good vs. well, is one that even causes native English speakers trouble from time to time.  So how do you know when to use one or the other?

The general rule of thumb is that ‘well’ describes how someone does something.  ‘Good’ on the other hand is used in combination with a noun, such as good food.

I like to tell me learners to look at the sentence in question and ask yourself, are you talking about an action (verb) or a thing (noun).

  1. He runs well.
  2. He is a good runner.

In the first sentence the action of running is being emphasized, therefore you would use well.  In the second sentence runner which is a person or thing is the focus, therefore you would use good.

To really get a better understanding, I suggest making your own sentences using both well and good.

  1. The meeting went well.
  2. That was a good meeting.
  3. That new restaurant is really good.
  4. The chef makes food really well.

If you want to test yourself, here are some examples to do at home.

  1. I play soccer but I’m not very ______.
  2. The examination results were _______.
  3. I didn’t sleep very ______ last night.
  4. The weather was _______ during the whole vacation.
  5. Alice speaks English very _____.
  6. Alice’s English is ______.
  7. The new project is doing _____ at the moment.
  8. I like your new jacket. It looks ____ on you.