The words good and well are often heard in natural English conversation, but they can be easy to confuse. My private English students often asked me about the difference between these two words. This post will answer the question with lots of real example sentences, audio and video, an interactive quiz, a free PDF download, and a fun infographic.
Good Vs Well
Good is an adjective so it will be used to modify nouns.
– The movie was really good. (Movie is a noun)
Well is an adverb so it will be used to modify verbs.
– My final exam is tomorrow. I hope I do well. (Do is a verb)
My teaching method for explaining grammar has always been to use lots of natural examples. Using real examples is a great way to remember new grammar and also be ready to use it in your own conversations. I know this method will help you too.
Good Vs Well
Good – Meaning
On the website Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries there are 23 meanings for the adjective GOOD.
Here are some common uses for the adjective good.
Remember that adjectives are used to modify nouns, they’re describing a person, place, or thing. (The modified noun will be bold)
|High quality||The food at this restaurant is really good.|
|Skillful||Brad is not good at baseball.|
|Favorable||This hotel has a good reputation.|
|Pleasant||These flowers smell good.|
*NOTE – We use the adjective GOOD with verbs that describe our senses. LOOK, TASTE, SMELL, SOUND, and FEEL.
The verb in our last example is SMELL – but we are describing our experience of the smell of the flower not the action of smelling.
We use adjectives not adverbs for these sensory verbs to describe an experience.
- Those cookies look delicious.
- They taste good too.
- Your plan sounds good. Let’s try it.
You will often hear adjectives like amazing, superb, excellent, Etc. with verbs that describe our senses.
- Those cookies look superb.
- Candace’s plan sounds awesome, let’s go with her idea.
- You look amazing tonight sweetheart, I’m a lucky man.
Well – Meaning
They’re only six ways to use the adverb WELL listed at Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. We will look at the common meanings.
Remember that adverbs are used to modify verbs, they are describing an action. (The modified verb will be bold)
|In a good, right, or acceptable way||The team played well in the championship game.|
|Completely and properly||German Shepherds are great dogs if you train them well.|
|To a great extent or degree||Mark was in my class but I didn’t know him very well.|
I’m good vs I’m well
It’s natural to hear a native speaker answer the question
“How are you doing?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
We can also use well as an adjective to talk about our health.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m well, thanks.”
“My Uncle is not well, he has been in the hospital for the last 3 days with stomach pain.”
I’m good and I’m well are both fine in conversation.
Good vs Well comparative
Adjectives and adverbs have a comparative form. Good and Well both have irregular comparative and superlative forms, but the good news is that they are the same!
Comparative and superlative forms
Comparison is used to talk about and compare two things.
- I think the book is better than the movie.
(comparison of GOOD – The book Vs. The movie)
- I feel much better today.
(comparison of WELL- How I feel today Vs. How I felt before)
The superlative is used for three or more things.
- There are many cafes in town, but Much Mocha Cafe is the best.
(Much Mocha Cafe Vs. all the other cafes.)
- How about you? Which Cafe do you like best?
(What is your favorite cafe out of all the cafes.)
“The Coffe Cow is better than Larry’s Lattes.”
*Better is the comparison of the adjective GOOD. Adjectives will follow a form of the verb TO BE. (is better)
“I like Cappucino Carnival best.”
*Best is the superlative of the adverb WELL. It is modifying the verb LIKE.
Learn more about comparison adjectives at my blog post here: Comparison grammar – Your #1 Guide (25 real examples + video)
*Adverbs can be used to modify adjectives, often a verb in its past participle form, to make a compound adjective. Well is often used in these compound adjectives.
- My dog is well trained. He can do many tricks.
These compound adjectives are where we often see the superlative of WELL.
- Dylan was the best dressed man at the meeting.
(In this sentence best is the superlative of WELL. It is modifying the past participle verb dressed.)
Compound adjectives are sometimes written with a hyphen.
- Dylan was the best-dressed man at the meeting.
- If you plan to take your dog to a leash-free dog park, he had better be well-trained.
(A leash-free park is a park where your dog can run free. It doesn’t have to be on a leash.)
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GOOD and WELL can be further modified with the adverbs very, really, or extremely.
・How are you today?
– I’m very good, thanks!
– I’m very well, thanks!
- Brad is not very good at baseball.
- This hotel has a really good reputation.
- Our team played extremely well last night.
- Very well done everyone.
Learn to use prepositions with GOOD correctly at my blog post here: Good At or Good In (or Good With?) Your complete guide
20 Examples with audio (for listening practice)
GOOD – 10 Natural sentence examples
- All we ever really need is good friends and good food.
- My uncle gave me his old car but it wasn’t in very good condition.
- You’re doing great, keep up the good work!
- I got the test back and unfortunately, the results were not good.
- I’m reading a really good book right now. I can’t put it down!
- Being a positive person is a good way to make friends.
- Do you want to hear some good news?
- We planned a big picnic for tomorrow. Cross your fingers for good weather.
- My son is not very tall but he’s a really good basketball player.
- Steve has always been a good friend.
WELL – 10 Natural sentence examples
- Tonight is my weekly poker. If I play well and get good cards I might win some money.
- The kids all behaved well.
- Well done!
- Gregory’s project is not going well.
- No one likes to get bad news but Elaine is taking it well.
- I’ve been driving this car for 16 years. I’m so happy I bought it. This was money well spent.
- The shoes look cool but unfortunately, they don’t fit well.
- Good night everyone, sleep well.
- I don’t think your plan was very well-thought-out.
- Stacy looks great, she’s always very well-dressed.
Good vs Well quiz
Good vs Well worksheet
Download the Google Quiz as a PDF printable worksheet.
Great for ESL teachers to use in class.
Good vs Well infographic
Was this post helpful for you? Write an example sentence using these two words in the comment section.
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- PLAY DO and GO – Your Best Guide (with Video)
- Tired OF something or Tired FROM something? (Quiz, PDF, Video)
- HOPE vs WISH What’s the difference? (An EASY Guide + Video)
- Log in vs. Login: Which to Use? (Your Best Guide)
- Choice or Choose? Learn the Difference (Free PDF + Video)