Good or Well?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between good and well?

This page is about whether to write "I am good" or "I am well". It is about the use of good and well as adjectives.

The sentences "I am good" and "I am well" are both grammatically sound. Good and well can both be used as adjectives. For example:
  • I am good.
  • (This means "I am of a fair or high standard.")
  • I am well.
  • (This means "I am in good health.")


The adjective good means of a fair or high standard.

  • I am good.
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. (Will Rogers)


The adjective well means in good health.

  • I am well.
  • If you feel well and happy, your face will reflect this, but if you are having a miserable time, your face will soon show it. (Joan Collins)

Should I say "I am good" or "I am well"?

Both are correct. In these sentences, good and well are both adjectives.

Confusion arises because many people believe an adverb must follow I am, and they know that well is the adverb of good.

In the sentences "I am good" and "I am well", the verb is am. This is a linking verb, and a linking verb is typically followed by an adjective or noun (called the subject complement). For example:
  • I am flamboyant.
  • (Here, flamboyant is an adjective.)
  • I am a man.
  • (Here, man is a noun.)
Read more about linking verbs.

Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are adverbs? What are nouns? What are linking verbs? List of easily confused words