Tag Archives: adverbs

ChanteSez … Doing well, part 2

19 Sep

It seems that the last ChanteSez strayed a bit too far in the general advice lane.

Here’s more instruction on the difference between “well” and “good” in a grammatical sense.

“Well” is an adverb in the phrase “I am doing well.” It is modifying the action in this sentence, the “doing.”

That is the job of adverbs: to describe the verb. Adverbs typically answer how, when, or where.

Just about any word that ends in “ly” is an adverb. That’s why I suggested last week that the opposite of someone doing well would be someone doing poorly, or badly.

Other examples of “ly” adverbs:

  • She happily sang the song.
  • He dressed handsomely.
  • People who talk righteously often have deep flaws.

The thing that can be a little confusing is that “good” can be used as an adverb. While it may not sound “proper,” it is commonly acceptable for “good” to be used when saying “I am doing good,” especially in informal situations.

But to be safe, ChanteSez keep “good” as an adjective, and leave “well” enough alone.

  • She did a good job balancing work and leisure.
  • Those are good margaritas!
  • Cloudeater is a really good band.

ChanteSez … Are you doing well, or good?

12 Sep

Once upon a time, “well” and “good” were not to be used interchangeably.

Particularly when answering the question above, “good” could be used to indicate virtue. Think of it like a short way of saying “good deeds” or “good things.”

“Well” more often referred to your well-being. If you weren’t doing well, perhaps you were doing poorly, or just OK.

The rules are looser these days, but one often sounds better than the other.

My advice is to take it back to primary school: When in doubt, sound it out. In other words, try each word in the sentence, and see which sounds better.

A few examples:

  • “The bartender made the martinis so well.” In this case, “well” is an adverb describing the action — the making, or the degree to which the bartender was successful in making the drinks. You could argue that “good” sounds OK here, but I prefer the traditional word choice.
  • “These are good martinis!” Here, we are describing the taste of the drinks, not anyone’s ability to make them. We’re using “good” as an adjective. “Well” would not work in this case.
  • “Things are going good.” I’m 50/50 on this one. Both “good” and “well” work here. ChanteSez this is a matter of formality, the difference between talking among friends (“good”), and talking to your boss (“well”).

ChanteSez … Leave the LY alone

8 Aug

When you’re using adverbs that have “ly” at the end, you don’t need a hyphen.

For example:

  • The beautifully dressed woman took center stage.
  • The carefully prepared presentation caught the team’s attention.
  • His compassionately listening ear made her feel better.