This week we’ll stay on that precision in language train by examining two words that are often erroneously used interchangeably. I’m talking about good and well.
Yes, these two words are often used interchangeably in spoken English. But as any long-time reader of this blog will tell you, there’s a significant difference between spoken English and written English. These two animals are related but not the same.
Good and well provide excellent examples. Good is an adjective, but well is an adverb. Adjectives modify only nouns, but adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Spoken English may allow them to be exchanged without concern, but more effective written English respects the structural roles they play in a sentence.
For example, we could say