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What is the difference between “good” and “well”

Okay, I actually have no idea when it's okay to say well or good but once again I vaguely remember a rule about them and I don't want to sound ignorant anymore or have that memory haunt me whenever people ask me how I'm doing.

  • What is the rule you vaguely remember? Aug 13, 2010 at 8:38
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    The part I remember is that you have to be careful about using well and good. Something about "I've been well" vs. "I've been good".
    – tooshel
    Aug 13, 2010 at 22:13
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    Here's how to remember: If you are not good, Santa will bring you coal. If you are not well, he will visit you in the hospital. Sorry for the culturally narrow mnemonic. Jul 9, 2012 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


From a grammar perspective: You use well when you need an adverb, and good when you need an adjective. That's the big difference.

Use well to talk about how, or in what way something is done:

  • The house is well built.
  • The dinner was well prepared.

Use good when to talk about a noun or pronoun. A good person, place or thing:

  • She is a good doctor.
  • The dinner was good.
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    Well is also an adjective: he was not a well man.
    – apaderno
    Aug 28, 2010 at 18:24
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    Yes, in the sense of health, which is different to the sense of the original question. Mar 25, 2011 at 2:00

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