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

"That dress looks really good!"

"That dress looks really well!"


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).


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

  • 1
    Could you explain why? – Ivo3185 Mar 21 '14 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. – i alarmed alien Mar 21 '14 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 '14 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.


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.

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