MiR 051 Shorts – Good or Well

April 30, 2012

Welcome to the Mark in Russia podcast network, episode #51, and IâEURTMm your host, Mark. This episode is part of my series of âEURoeShortsâEUR and by this I mean approximately 5 minute long podcasts which are aimed at explaining a Quick Grammar Tip.

You should go to the website, http:www.markinrussia.com and look at the show notes and vocabulary. YouâEURTMll get more out of the lesson if you are able to follow it in writing.

Today weâEURTMre going to talk about the words, âEURoeGoodâEUR and âEURoeWellâEUR and how they are misused very often in speech.

LetâEURTMs look at some examples:


Here is a man speaking to his friend who he just met up with on the street:


âEURoeHi Bill, how are you doing?âEUR

Bill: âEURoeIâEURTMm doing good!âEUR

Or should Bill say:

âEURoeIâEURTMm doing well!âEUR

Actually, it is the second choice, âEURoeIâEURTMm doing well!âEUR

You see, if you answered that you were âEURoedoing goodâEUR, this would mean that you were doing something good for the sake of society or humanity, or something along those lines.

âEURoeGoodâEUR is an adjective and also sometimes a noun. It is never an adverb. In the above example an adverb was needed to modify the verb âEURoedoingâEUR. An adjective canâEURTMt modify a verb.

âEURoeWellâEUR can be an adjective or an adverb, although almost always an adverb. Therefore in our example we would use âEURoewellâEUR and not âEURoegoodâEUR.


Good: always an adjective, never an adverb; never modifies a verb but can follow a linking verb and act as a modifier for the subject.

Well: adjective or adverb depending on context. When an action verb is involved, an adverb is needed, and well is always the choice, never good.

There are some exceptions, particularly related to linking verbs, but thatâEURTMs a discussion for another day, and like anything else grammar related, there are disputes.

The following example illustrates this point:

âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling good.âEUR

âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling well.âEUR

Some will say that the meaning of the first example, âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling goodâEUR would imply that you have a good sense of touch, whereas the second example, âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling wellâEUR relates to health. Others will say that because âEURoefeelingâEUR acts as a linking verb, either would be OK. Even with the linking verb school of thought, the meanings are slightly different. âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling goodâEUR in this situation would refer to a state of mind, whereas âEURoeIâEURTMm feeling wellâEUR would relate to health.

Anyhow, it is confusing and apparently not cut and dried.


LetâEURTMs take a short joke break and when we return IâEURTMll give a couple of confusing examples and the correct usage.


First IâEURTMll tell a âEURoeGood News, Bad NewsâEUR joke.


The doctor says “I have good news and bad news.”

The patient says “tell me the bad news.”

The doctor says “You have cancer”

The patient says “tell me the good news”

The doctor says “you also have alzheimers”

The patient says “okay tell me the bad news”


HereâEURTMs another joke:


A bachelor named Steve who lived at home with his mother and pet cat went on a trip to Europe. Before he left, he told his best friend to inform him of any emergencies. A few days after his departure, his cat climbed up on the roof, fell off and was killed. His friend immediately emailed him with the message: “Your cat died!”

A half day later, Steve was back home, having cut his trip short in grief and in anger at his friend. He told his friend, “Why didnâEURTMt you break the news to me gradually? You know how close I was to my cat! You could have sent the message âEURTMYour cat climbed up on the roof today,âEURTM and the next day you couldâEURTMve written âEURTMYour cat fell off the roofâEURTM and let me down slowly that he died.”

A few days later, the bachelor left again to continue his trip. A few days into his trip, he returns to his hotel and thereâEURTMs a message waiting for him from his friend.

The message read, “Your mother climbed up on the roof today.”



OK, welcome back and letâEURTMs wrap up this quick grammar tip.

We have time for a couple of quick questions:


Anton asks:

When somebody asks âEURoeHow are you?âEUR should I assume they mean âEURoeHow are you doing?âEUR or âEURoeHow are you feeling?âEUR

Well Anton, that is a good question with a simple answer. Because this question is typically answered with a one word answer, it doesnâEURTMt matter.

âEURoeHow are you?âEUR





Bella asks:

âEURoeIâEURTMm still not sure whether I can apply, âEURoeBe good!âEUR or should it be, âEURoeBe well!âEUR instead.

Hi Bella,

When saying âEURoeBe good,âEUR itâEURTMs usually a statement about behavior, not feelings or health. YouâEURTMre admonishing someone to behave, not instructing them to stay healthy (âEURoebe wellâEUR). âEURoeBe goodâEUR is the same as saying, âEURoeDonâEURTMt be bad.âEUR

I hope that this explanation clears things up for you, Bella.


Thanks for listening through to the end of this episode, come back again next week for a new Mark in Russia Quick Grammar Tip. Until that time, Thanks and Goodbye!

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