Good vs. Well

Good is an adjective while well is an adverb answering the question ‘how?’. Sometimes well also functions as an adjective pertaining to health.

You did a good job.
Good describes job, which is a noun, so good is an adjective.

You did the job well.
Well is an adverb describing how the job was performed.

I feel well.
Well is an adjective describing I.

Good vs. Well Rules

Rule: With the four senses—look, smell, taste, feel—discern if these words are being used actively to decide whether to follow them with good or well. (Hear is always used actively.)

You smell good today.
Good describes you, not how you sniff with your nose.

You smell well for someone with a cold.
You are sniffing actively with your nose here so use the adverb.

She looks good for a 75-year-old grandmother.
She is not looking actively with eyes so use the adjective.

Rule: When referring to health, always use well.

I do not feel well today.
You do not look well.

Rule: When describing someone’s emotional state, use good.

Example: He doesn’t feel good about having cheated.

So, how should you answer the question, “How are you?” If you think someone is asking about your physical well-being, answer, “I feel well,” or “I don’t feel well.” If someone is asking about your emotional state, answer, “I feel good,” or “I don’t feel good.”

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