Is it okay to use "just as well" in the next scenario:

Person 1: When I'm mad I can be stubborn as hell.

Person 2: And when you're not, just as well!

  • Just as well is sometimes used to mean also. That works here. See: english.stackexchange.com/questions/107223/… Jan 2, 2015 at 13:05
  • "Just as well" is generally a statement of resignation, indicating that the speaker isn't happy with the situation but can do nothing about it, or that any effort to rectify it would only make matters worse. Often used as a stand-alone sentence.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 2, 2015 at 13:53

4 Answers 4


Short answer: no.

If you are looking for something which expresses the meaning "equally so", as well as rhyming with the preceding line, you might need to consider changing the ending of the first line or even re-arranging the structure of the sentence completely.

These are some (very quick, off the top of my head) options to make it rhyme (if indeed rhyming was your intention):

Person 1: When I'm mad I'm stubborn to a great degree.
Person 2: And when you're not, you're stubborn equally.

Person 1: When I'm mad I can be stubborn as hell.
Person 2: Omitting being mad does little that to quell!

If you were not aiming for rhyme, then "equally so" would fit fine.



"And when you're not, almost as stubborn."


"And when you're not, nearly as stubborn."

  • That ruins the rhyme, though. Aug 26, 2014 at 23:31
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet Sadly, I did not even notice. But you correct: A good rhyme or a bad pun can excuse ANYTHING! Aug 26, 2014 at 23:34

Sometimes "just as well" actually means "preferable." For example, "I carried an umbrella in case of rain, but it was a sunny day after all, which is just as well."

So one interpretation is that the second person in your example is saying it's preferable for the first person not to be mad. That preference may be in part because then the first person is not as stubborn as he might be.

On the other hand, there's the interpretation, "You're just as stubborn then, too!" The grammatical correctness of that interpretation is a little unclear to me, but it's at least a play on words, and in such cases grammar can be relaxed a little.


When you ask whether it's okay to use "just as well" in the example dialogue above, you might be asking whether the sentence containing "just as well" can be interpreted in a way that helps the larger statement in the dialogue make sense. Or you might be asking whether the words "just as well" convey a particular meaning that you have in mind but haven't revealed in your question.

I'm going to assume that you're asking the first question—and my answer is that with slightly more vivid punctuation it is indeed possible to interpret "just as well" in a contextually coherent way. Suppose that instead of preceding "just as well" with a comma, you had used an em-dash:

Person 1: When I'm mad I can be stubborn as hell.

Person 2: And when you're not—just as well!

One way to understand the second sentence is to read it as meaning "And when you're not [mad], [it's] just as well [for everyone concerned]!" That amount of interpolation may seem excessive, but none of it is especially far-fetched. In particular, I think that the em-dash invites an implicit "it's" to handle the breakaway second half of the sentence.

Reading an implicit "you're" at that juncture might seem more natural because it matches the pattern of the first sentence of the dialogue: "When I'm...[then] I can be" resolving into "And when you're...[then] you're"; but the sentence "And when you're not, you're just as well" doesn't make any sense without industrial-strength explication, which I can't imagine would be worth the candle.

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