How was I supposed to know that a simple remark to my kids would trigger a slow descent into madness?
It all began during my daughter’s grammar lessons. I was teaching her the difference between the words well and good.
This is easy to explain to anyone. Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb.
Examples: “This is good ice cream,” and “The girl performed well on her test.”
There’s a slight exception for well when it concerns describing a person’s health, such as “Dad is not feeling well,” but other than that, this is a straightforward grammar lesson.
I should’ve just stopped there, but no, I had to say it to both my kids: “A common mistake that some people make is to use good as an adverb. Next time you’re around a group of people, listen for how they mix up these words.”
That did it. Because now I started listening. At the store, in friendly conversations, watching TV and movies, on the phone… I had my radar on and I didn’t know how to turn it off.
Across the board, regardless of education or age, we are unbelievably bad about using the word good as an adverb. Now, I’m not the grammar police, and there is a part of me that doesn’t much care how you want to talk or write.
But I’m trying to teach my kids that the English language does have some hard and fast rules, and this is one of the easy ones to remember.
I never realized just how many instances of this abuse would reach my ears until I started paying attention. My son says I am now having a noticeable physical reaction, like a twitch, when I hear someone say, “You did good,” or “The team played good,” or some other example.
In the interest of my mental health, I might have to lower my standards and accept this new use of the word.
Someday maybe I can talk good like everyone else.