By Maeve Maddox
The words good and well have been in English since its earliest version.
When Beowulf finds the ancient sword in the underwater cave of Grendels mom, one of the words utilized to explain it is good.
When the Beowulf poet considers the afterlife, he says, “Well [ i.e., “in a state of good luck”] is the person who after death seeks the Lord.”
Entries for both words in the Oxford English Dictionary are very long, including many shades of significance, much of them now obsolete.
Both words can function adverbially, however making use of great as an outright adverb declined in British English in the seventeenth century. It resurfaced in the nineteenth century as an Americanism, as kept in mind in Bartletts American Dictionary (1859 ):
English travellers have repeatedly observed the adverbial usage of this word [great] He can not check out excellent. It does not shoot excellent.
Careful twenty-first century speakers and authors– Americans included– make sure to avoid utilizing good as an adverb in official speech and writing, but colloquially (and in discussing sports), great is regularly used in place of well to customize a verb:
Nonstandard: We did respectable sticking to our supper plan this week other than for one evening. (charlotteobserver.com) Preferred: We did pretty well adhering to our dinner strategy this week except for one evening.
Nonstandard: It does not matter how great you played or how bad you played, did you win or not? (dailyherald.com) Preferred: It doesnt matter how well you played or how terribly you played, did you win or not?
Nonstandard: He played great the very first half of the bowl game, however he didnt in the second half. (tennesean.com) Preferred: He played well the first half of the bowl game, however he didnt in the second half.
Nonstandard: Craig Anderson played fantastic in net and the defense played good all the way out. (newsobserver.com) Preferred: Craig Anderson played very well in net and the defense played well all the way out.
Apart from the clear scenario in which well is more effective to good when modifying a finite verb, idiomatic usages exist in which good can be used adverbially without incurring contempt.
Idioms with excellent that function adverbially:
as good asHe as good as confessed that he was lying.(” practically, almost, in effect”).
good andThe principal was mad and great.(” really, totally”).
good-payingSome speakers, knowing that we should not state that a job “pays great,” go out of their method to change the appropriate idiom “good-paying” to the odd-sounding “well-paying.”.
Note this sentence from a site called “geteducated”:.
With just a very little quantity of classes and no previous experience, you can land this well-paying task.
Seems to me the sentence would sound more “informed” by doing this:.
With just a very little variety of classes and no previous experience, you can land this good-paying job.
a good manyWeve been glorifying wealth as the roadway to happiness for a good several years now.
Merriam-Webster specifies “an excellent lots of” as “a lot,” but in the phrase, excellent modifies the adjective numerous– ergo, its being used adverbially.
Associated post: “Good vs Well, Bad vs Badly”.
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