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Good vs. Well
I am still learning when to use these two words, so I thought you might like to learn along with me. When I was homeschooling my children and they ran across something they just couldn't seem to get the hang of, I would always have them explain it to a stuffed animal, or explain it to me. That method worked every time, so I am going to explain to you when to use each of these words.
How do you know when to use good, and how do you know when to use well? To begin with , good is an adjective, and well is an adverb. But is that all you need to know to figure out which word to use? If only it were that simple. To know whether to use good or well, you need to understand linking verbs and action verbs.
Action verbs show action. Words like run, jump, throw, and walk are action verbs. When you want to describe an action verb, you use an adverb such as well.
He runs well.
She jumps rope well.
Remember, you do not want to use good after an action verb. It is wrong. It would be wrong to say He runs good. 'Runs' is an action verb; therefore, it needs an adverb to describe it. You can only use adjectives, such as good and bad, after linking verbs.
Linking verbs are just a bit more complicated than action verbs. They do not express action. Instead, they give additional information about the subject. Some verbs are always linking verbs become, seem, and the forms of 'be'. Then there are other verbs that can function either as linking verbs or action verbs. Examples of these verbs are appear, look, smell, and taste.
So how do you figure out whether the verb is being used as a linking verb or an action verb? You can try and replace the verb with a form of 'be'. Chances are if you can replace it, and the sentence still makes sense, it is a linking verb.
She smells bad.
She is bad.
The sentence makes sense when 'smells' is replaced with a form of be, so 'smells' is a linking verb.
She smells badly.
She is badly.
The sentence does not make sense when 'smells' is replaced with a form of 'be', so 'smells' is an action verb.
It is standard practice to use adjectives after linking verbs. So when someone asks you how you are doing, it is correct to say I am good., except when you are referring to your health. When you are referring to your health, you need to use well.
I do not feel well today.
My understanding of when to use each of these words is much clearer now, just as I hope yours is.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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