Word Choice – Good Versus Well

Pam’s question: “Can you please clarify the appropriate response to ‘How are you?’  Is it ‘Good’ or ‘Well’? ”

BizWritingTip response: According to The Gregg Reference Manual, to feel well means “to be in good health.” To feel good is “to be in good spirits.” In other words, you are referring to your mental outlook.

Examples
It is a beautiful morning. I feel good.
I have been sick. Today, I feel well.

However, many of us have been taught that good is always an adjective and well is an adverb. What this means is that good modifies nouns and well modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Examples
He wrote a good report. (The adjective good is modifying the noun report.)
You wrote well. (The adverb well is modifying the verb wrote.)

Now here’s the exception to the rules.  “Well” may also be used as an adjective when describing something that is proper, healthy, or suitable. Therefore, “I am well (healthy)” is grammatically correct today.

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