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Who hasn’t experienced this at least once in the halcyon days of their youth? Within a nanosecond of the screen door’s slam, someone’s mother would yell from the back porch:

“It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye!”

That admonition probably didn’t stop the neighbor boys, wearing their football helmets as fencing masks and using sharpened sticks as sabres, from jabbing at each other, but at least it made the mother feel better.

I admit my title isn’t spot-on, but it serves the purpose for the topic I wanted to cover today:

Well vs. Good

What’s the basic difference?

Good is an adjective, which means it modifies nouns (persons, places, things or ideas).

“Otto thinks he’s a good listener, but all he does is stare at the TV,” Betty huffed.

“What a good idea,” Maynard said of Hector’s plan to blow up the treehouse.

In these examples, the listener and the plan are nouns; therefore, the adjective good is used to modify them.

Well is an adverb. It modifies verbs (action words), adjectives (words that describe) and other adverbs (words that answer the questions when, where, how or to what extent).

Did Margaret do well at the International Ironing Competition?

Simon speaks Lithuanian well.

Both of those examples talk about the action of doing something; therefore, well is used.

But how do you respond when someone asks “How are you today?”

If you’re not referring to your health, but to the fact that you’re bursting with love and good cheer, go ahead and say “I’m good, thanks!” to the person.

If you’re feeling dragged out and just plain miserable, you’re talking about your health, so you’d say:

“Not well, thanks.”

Remember…”good” describes a noun, while “well” describes an adverb, so keep practicing and you’ll do well.

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