Mini Lesson

I spent most of yesterday watching football, and I’m appalled by the grammar of some people who make their living speaking on national television. Because of this, I’m inspired to offer up this little grammar mini-lesson. Let’s clarify this once and for all, shall we?

GOOD is an adjective used to describe a noun:

That was a good movie.

He is a good swimmer.

I had a good time on my vacation.

WELL is an adverb used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb:

He kicks the ball very well.

You would do well to listen to the advice of your elders.

How are you today? I am well, thank you.

Now, of course there are other uses of both words. One can do trade in particular goods. One can go to a well and bring up some water for cooking. In the way the words are USUALLY used in common American English, though, the examples I’ve pointed out above are the way to go.

Over the course of the Patriots game yesterday, I heard “he threw that good” and “he kicked that field goal really good.”

I just can’t stand it.



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8 responses to “Mini Lesson

  1. Hahahahahah!

    Uh …


    You are no longer allowed to read my blog!

    I was just looking back over what I wrote this morning and spotted,like, five errors. I just can’t be arsed to go fix them. *blush*

    (PS: don’t ever watch NASCAR. You will go insane.)



    I love how the southerners put several extra syllables in their words.



    After my husband watches a little bit of NASCAR (which he occasionally does), it takes me several days to recover. I end up saying “I tell you whu-ut” for a lot longer than makes me comfortable.

  3. ACK! I agree. It’s just like my obsession with “you’re” and “your”. Every once and while I’ll get an email from a reader that has ‘Your Hot’ in the subject line. I don’t even bother to read it…I just hit delete.

    If he can’t even figure out basic grammar, I’m not interested!

  4. I’m not the only one yelling at the TV for poor grammar usage? You’ve just made my day, darling!

    ~Grammar Snob

  5. Oh, no, Snob – you’re SO not the only one!

  6. My brother has stopped watching sports shows in the living room because I inevitably wander through and complain about the announcers’ grammar.

    Though I do admit to frequently messing up well and good in the “How are you doing?” instance. The fact that most people, myself included, drop the implied “doing” from “I’m well” trips me up. And what about if you drop the “I’m” completely and just give a one word response? It sounds strange to say “well,” and it would probably get me very strange looks if I did it here, in my small midwestern hometown. I think that perhaps this is one area where language is evolving past the rules of grammar. In practical day-to-day usage outside of English departments it seems perfectly acceptable, maybe even more appropriate, to say “good” in response to “How’s it going?”

  7. My standard response to “how are you?” or “how’s it going” is “well, thank you!” I think it trips a lot of people up and they have to stop and think about it (or they just think that I’M the one with the crappy grammar – doesn’t EVERYONE say “GOOD”?!?). I don’t care. I’m safe in the knowledge that I’ve got it right.

    There is a lot of stuff that sort of creeps into accepted useage as the years roll on. I’m okay with that, really – it’s just the glaring stuff, the stuff that makes people sound dumber than they (hopefully) really are, that makes me cringe…

  8. I usually get around the good/well dilemma by always saying “fine” or “okay” or just relying on body language. I’ve gotten to be really good at expressively vague shrugs.

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