Fall 2008 Grammar Articles

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This issue, watch how the Totalitarian Grammarian (Rocky Reichman) explains the difference between the words "Good" and "Well," and when it is grammatically correct to use each one.

                              Good vs. Well

                 By the Rocky Reichman, Totalitarian Grammarian


      Good Against…Well?

      “How are you, man?”

      “I’m doing good.”

      Ouch. You’re not doing good, man, you mean you’re doing well.

      This is an outrageous atrocity. People around the world are succumbing to this dangerous virus. But only this virus doesn’t cause itchy throats or stuffy noses, it creates something just as horrid.

      Grammatical mistakes.

      What is the “outrageous atrocity” I am referring to? It has to do with the adjectives good and well, and how they’re used. For years these words have been misused and abused (hey, that rhymed!). It’s become common to interchange them as well. But this is not grammatically correct. Good and well are both adjectives with positive connotations, yes. And it may seem tempting to interchange them, yes. But that does not--nor will it ever--change the fact that these are separate words. They may even mean the same thing, but they do not share the same usage. This means that just because it’s alright to use one in a particular sentence, that doesn’t mean it’s correct to use the other word in the same sentence, too. Now that readers have been alerted to the issue, let’s explore it. See why interchanging the words good and well is a grammar crime.

      Good is an adjective and describes nouns or pronouns, whereas well is usually an adverb and describes verbs (and occasionally adjectives, too). So for example, “He is a good dancer” is grammatically correct--good, an adjective, is being used to describe “dancer,” which is a noun. And “He scored well on his test” is also correct usage: well is an adverb and modifies the verb “scored.” But phrases like “He did good on his test” or “He is a well dancer,” are incorrect because they do not comply with the grammatical rules for good and well.

      It’s clear now how good and well are being misused. It’s a true grammar crime. A violation of basic Word Rights (yes, words do have rights). Good and well, are, well, good words. They don’t deserved to be misused. So next time you ask your friend how they’re doing and they reply “I’m good” instead of “I’m well,” do what the Totalitarian Grammarian would do.

      Politely correct him. Then hit him over the head with a Webster’s unabridged dictionary.

      And say, “You…are…Grammarnated!”







Disclaimer: The Totalitarian Grammarian is not responsible for any injuries incurred by enforcing the laws of grammar. Nor does the Totalitarian Grammarian endorse hitting people over the head with dictionaries for making grammatical mistakes. So please, ask your conscious first if this tactic is right for you before acting on impulse. On behalf of all the responsible grammarians and everyone reading this, the Totalitarian Grammarian thanks you for understanding the grammar crime that has been committed.

                           Yours grammatically,

                                    The Totalitarian Grammarian (the "Grammarnator")

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