A Way With Words: As good as it gets
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My husband is a grammar snob. While our kids were little, he would correct them if they “misspoke.” He was particularly vigilant about the proper use of “good” and “well.” There was no, “I did good,” in our house. It was firmly, but gently (most of the time) corrected to, “you did well.”
Today, they are both in their 20s and I sometimes hear them correct their friends. I feel like my parental job is done.
It is easy to determine which word to use. Just remember, “good” is an adjective and “well” is an adverb.
“He does a good job cleaning his room.”
“He did well cleaning his room.”
In the first sentence, “good” describes what kind of job. In the second sentence, “well” describes how he cleaned.
“Joe drives as good as his sister.”
In the above sentence, the wrong modifier is used because “good” is describing how Joe drives.
“Joe drives as well as his sister.”
“Kathy didn’t know her roommate as good as she thought she did.”
In this sentence, “good” is used incorrectly to describe how Kathy knew her roommate.
“Kathy didn’t know her roommate as well as she thought she did.”
You wouldn’t say, “Kathy knew her roommate good.” You would say, “Kathy knew her roommate well.”
I still cringe if I hear anyone use these two words interchangeably, and I will judge you if you use the wrong word in your writing.
When you are writing, try reading your story out loud. Sometimes you don’t see a problem as
good well as you can hear it.
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