3

Should one say:

"turn out good" or "turn out well"

I have always preferred the latter, but found the form "turn out good" in the book by Raymond Murphy: "English Grammar in use".

  • 5
    It would depend upon the context - which you haven't given us. – Chenmunka Feb 26 '16 at 10:42
  • 1
    Can you at least show us the full sentence you found in the book? – user140086 Feb 26 '16 at 14:29
5

"Turn out good" is fine when good is actually an adjective.

With his upbringing he'll probably become a violent criminal, but he might turn out good.

  • Unless, of course we are referring to his wardrobe, In which case he might turn out well. – bib Feb 26 '16 at 12:54
  • To me, the implied linking verb must be made explicit for "good" to work out: "...but he might turn out to be good." Otherwise, it appears "good" is erroneously being used as an adverb modifying the phrasal verb "turn out". – Monty Harder Feb 26 '16 at 16:15
  • @Monty Perhaps the parallelism would be clearer with "he'll probably become violently criminal, but he might turn out good," as that has two contrasted adjectives. – Andrew Leach Feb 26 '16 at 16:17
  • @AndrewLeach That helps, but "become" is clearly understood to be a linking verb (the "be-" prefix might subconsciously underscore it to be a being rather than doing verb) while "turn out" isn't. – Monty Harder Feb 26 '16 at 16:25
  • Sorry, become is a not a "linking verb" (copula); it's a verb indicating transition, much like turn out. – Andrew Leach Feb 26 '16 at 16:26
3

Would you say

that cake turned out delicious

or

that cake turned out deliciously?

In the first case, it's a predicate adjective describing the cake. In the second, it's an adverb describing the process of turning out. The adjective makes more sense in this case, and more people use it. See Ngram.

For the question of turned out good/well, which one is correct depends on the context.

1

In the US, for many decades it was stressed in school that well should be used with verbs and good with nouns.

This cake turned out well. It's good.

It was quite a mess at first, but in the end it turned out well for everyone.
--That's good.

The schools wouldn't have stressed this usage "rule" if many native speakers weren't violating it all the time.

Many of the people who violate this rule today have had little schooling, and so the idea has arisen that to "misuse" good and well is a sign the person is poorly educated or otherwise resistant to education. We have the stereotype of the beer-guzzling couch-potato watching mindless action movies in which things routinely explode:

"That blew up real good!"

So, many native speakers will think you're an uneducated bumpkin if you say "That worked out real good". Telling them that you're a descriptivist not a prescriptivist won't get you very far. They are not likely to know what those words mean.

1

I don't care how relaxed people get about things like this. I still like the idea of distinguishing between an adjective and an adverb.

To me, "That turned out real good" means (e.g.) "That turned out not to be evil."

"That turned out real well" means it turned out the way it was hoped or expected to.

protected by tchrist Jan 5 '17 at 1:07

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