Take the sentence

The server is not working good.

I think that working good is right here, but why is it right? Is good an adverb in this position?

  • It's not correct in my dialect or in standard English, but is fairly common in many dialects. – TRiG Apr 10 '13 at 10:08
  • But "good" seems have an adv. property in some dictionaries – bookends Apr 10 '13 at 10:19

The server is not working good is ungrammatical in Standard English & International English.

What people say when they speak is merely colloquial English and no indication of what's "correct" according to the people who offer standardized and internationally recognized accepted tests of English (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS), or according to your English teacher, or even according to your boss, assuming that the boss knows English well enough to judge its quality.

Many words that are adjectives are used as if they were adverbs, e.g., slow, fast, loud, and have been used that way for centuries, so they're not controversial.

It's working good/bad/poor, however, will grate on the ears of anyone who's educated and will mark you as a substandard or regional dialect speaker or else poorly educated and linguistically challenged, native speaker or no. Words and usages have social value as well as cultural currency. Linguistic egalitarians tend to forget or else dismiss this aspect of reality because it offends their ideology.

How you speak and write is up to you, of course. I once had a student in an undergraduate class at the U of Iowa who told me that she did not "need to know how to write" because she was going to "be a phlebotomist" after she graduated. All they need to know how to do, she seemed to think, was perform all the basic bodily functions, sit in a chair, and extract blood from people's veins. It's amazing how narrow-minded some folks can be, innit?


The adverb from good is well.

That would be the correct word to use here.

There are several other threads that describe the difference between good and well, so I won't go into another long discussion here.

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