Well, well, well.

At the most basic level, the difference between good and well is the exact same as the difference between, say, bad and badly; good is an adjective and well is an adverb.

People bugger this up all the time. Here’s all you need to know:

If you are referring to a NOUN, use an adjective.

ex: Mother Teresa is good.

(“good” modifies the NOUN “Mother Teresa”)


If you are referring to a VERB, use an adverb.

ex: Mother Teresa raps well         

(“well” modifies the verb “raps”)


Converting an adjective into an adverb of manner normally requires adding “–ly” to the adjective (e.g. “quick” / “quickly”, “slow” / “slowly”, “nice” / “nicely” etc). A few adverbs of manner, however, are irregular, i.e. they are not changed from adjective to adverb this way (such as “fast”, and “hard”). The fact that the most common adjective in English – good – is irregular causes all sorts of grating grammar mistakes that make me want to burn my hands off:

Straightforward as that is, there is one exception:

“Well” can also be used as an adjective, but only when referring to one’s physical or mental health (to be precise, when referring to one’s well-being). Thus, the sentences “I’m well” and “I’m good”, however mundane, both use adjectives and are both correct answers to the ubiquitous “How are you?

With that in mind, here is a reenactment of every single first date I’ve ever been on:

At least both answers are fine.


Lastly, be mindful when using verbs relating to the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. An adjective is required when describing HOW something looks, smells, feels, sounds, or tastes. Using an adverb implies that the subject of the sentence performs the verb, so don’t screw it up.





About Boggleton Drive

I teach things to people and sometimes draw comics.
This entry was posted in Grammar Lessons! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Well, well, well.

  1. Rae says:

    This one may be my favorite. The picture of little red dude putting his hands in the bbq is amazing!

  2. randomsensibility says:

    BEST BLOG POST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. This had me laugh out loud! Incidentally I learnt something that I used to struggle with, thank you.

  4. yodebbie1954 says:

    Just found your blog, love it!

  5. Karen says:

    I miss funny comics. Your stories make me laugh out loud. LOVE IT! I needeed that.

  6. anonymously says:

    I love the second comic strip! I want MORE now 😀

  7. arieh13 says:

    You are my hero, creative and intelligent – getting important messages across to the world! Your characters and illustrations are hysterical! (Please forgive any grammatical mistakes as I have been living in Paris for the past 8 months training to become a pastry chef… damn the French language and it’s ridiculous systematic grammatical system that takes a lifetime to learn and a day to forget!

    • “its”. Hehe, just needling you.

      I learned French for 5 years in high school, and I was so excited a couple of years ago when I saw a lost French couple where I was living. I went up to them, boldly, and with my best French accent, asked en français if they needed help

      …They had NO idea what I was talking about.


  8. Mother Teresa rapping had tears coming out of my eyes. I chuckle just thinking about it.
    I’m so glad this blog was Freshly Pressed – otherwise I’d have never seen all of this comedic gold!
    A site that talks about word play and politics in hilarious comic form? I think I’ve died and gone to heaven…….

  9. junechild says:

    You teach very good. just kidding, don’t roast your hands yet! lol!

  10. Simon Black says:

    Brilliant blog. Just found it and I’ll definitely come back. Mother Teresa rapping is pure genius. 🙂

  11. ignantj says:

    What an awesome blog! Thanks for making my day. Again.

  12. Jacob Spire says:

    Took me a moment to get the last line… Got me laughing, thought, once I got it!

  13. Pingback: Virtual « Thoughtful Thoughts

  14. nazaruddin says:

    you need to learn more especially about your attitude.
    you are NOTHING at all

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