Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

Which of the following sentences is correct? Could you use both? Why is this?

"That dress looks really good!"

"That dress looks really well!"

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by TimLymington, FumbleFingers, tchrist, David M, Mari-Lou A Mar 22 at 13:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Among other things, well means:
- In a good or proper manner: behaved well.
- Skillfully or proficiently: dances well.
- With care or attention: dressed well.

Good means - Attractive; handsome: good looks.
- Beneficial to health; salutary: a good night's rest.
- Competent; skilled: a good machinist.

While you can say, "you dress very well" (where the verb is dress), you would say "your dress looks really good" (where the verb is looks).

share|improve this answer

You use "really good" unless you are talking about health. Then you use "really well"

share|improve this answer
1  
Could you explain why? –  Ivo3185 Mar 21 at 21:24
2  
"well" has a number of meanings when used as an adjective, including in good health (e.g. I don't feel well); in a satisfactory state or position (e.g. all's well with the world); or sensible or advisable (e.g. you'd do well to check a dictionary). None of these are applicable to a dress, unless the dress is a living creature (perhaps Lady Gaga might have a dress that looks well). "good" has numerous meanings as an adjective, including "pleasing," "welcome," and "to be desired of" or "to be approved of." This is essentially what "that dress looks really good" means. –  girlwithglasses Mar 21 at 22:01
    
Since the question was about the verb "looks", I applied it to that verb. If the verb was "do" you can "do good" or "do well" in different situations. There you would use 'well' unless you were involved in some kind of charity. –  Oldcat Mar 21 at 22:06

"Good" is an adjective. "Well" is normally used as an adverb, but can also be used as an adjective when referring to someone's state of health. So your second sentence would only make sense if the dress in question was alive and was looking healthy.

share|improve this answer

You wouldn't use "looking well" except about a person. It usually refers to a person's health, although it can refer to the act of looking, as in

Look well into this, and get back to me.

Since a dress can neither see nor be healthy, looks really well is not applicable.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.