There’s no way around it: Good is a good word. It carries a variety of meanings and connotations, and it swiftly covers a lot of ground. In fact, good is so good that we hardly ever think twice before using it.
How are you today? Good.
How does the coffee taste? Good.
Have you read any good books lately?
Precisely because of good’s popularity, it doesn’t come across as a particularly clever, creative, or insightful word choice. Our job at Grammarly is to help you improve your writing, so here are some synonyms that might be a better way to say good.
What are the meanings of the word good?
Let’s begin with what good means. As we mentioned, good is used in many situations, and context plays a big role in determining whether good is the best word choice.
For example, if you tell someone their writing is good, then you are giving them a compliment. However, if someone just spent an entire day preparing dinner, telling them the meal was good might feel like an insensitive understatement. Why not incredible or delicious or swoonworthy?
Good can also act as an adjective or a noun. When we are using it to describe the quality of something, we are using it as an adjective. When good describes either prosperity or well-being (as in “the common good”) or a commodity (goods and services), it is being used as a noun.
When to use a word other than good
If there are other ways to say good, then why don’t we use them as often? The short answer is convenience. Good doesn’t require any explanation; it’s a useful word that keeps the conversation moving.
When you’re writing, especially when you’re writing descriptively, it’s time to set down good and pick up some more evocative words. If you’re talking about a day with good weather, you could describe it as balmy, crisp, or pleasant. If you are describing someone’s character, you could say they’re kind, friendly, charming, or generous.
Using synonyms for good not only adds variety to your word choices, but it also gives your reader a better idea of the person, place, or thing that you are trying to describe.
When you’re switching out good for its synonyms, make sure to match the writing’s tone. For instance, if you are writing a college admissions essay, use synonyms for good that have a certain level of formality to them. Words like excellent, favorable, and positive convey a more professional tone than cool, sweet, or dope.
Good vs. well
To understand the difference between good and well, it helps to understand the difference between an adjective and an adverb. In short: Adjectives describe nouns, and adverbs describe everything else.
Good is an adjective, so it is used to describe nouns. What sorts of things can be good? A cup of coffee, the weather, your state of mind. All of these things are nouns; therefore, all of these things can be good.
Well is an adverb, which means it is used to describe adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. For example, you can say that the barista made your double caramel macchiato well. This would mean that they skillfully executed this drink order. The adverb well in this sentence describes the verb made.
If you said that the barista made your coffee good, then the adjective good is being used to describe the coffee (a noun) and not the person’s skill. It’s a subtle but important difference.
How are you doing? Good vs. well
One last thing about good versus well. Have you ever been corrected when answering the question, How are you doing?
If someone asks, “How are you doing?” You answer, “I’m doing well.”
The adverb well is modifying the verb doing.
If you answer, “I’m doing good,” the implication is that you are doing good in the world, with good as a noun standing in for good deeds or actions benefiting others. Typically, this isn’t the message you’re trying to convey in casual conversation.
Synonyms for good
Good as an adjective (formal):
Good as an adjective (casual):
Good as an adjective (virtuous):
Good as an adjective (enjoyable):
Good as a noun (well-being)
Good as a noun (commodity)