Rogue Words from A to Z: You May Be Good, But I’m the Goodest

A to Z Letter GGood seems like a nice, simple word at first glance. Most of the time our use of good is good enough. But if we want to use it perfectly well, we need to know how good is different from the word well.

Well can be used as either an adjective (describing a noun/pronoun) or an adverb (describing a verb/adjective). When we say “I feel well,” well is describing the pronoun I. When we say “She did well,” well is describing the verb did. So far, so good. πŸ™‚

Good, on the other hand, is only supposed to be used as an adjective. You can say, “I feel good,” (nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!) but not “She did good.”

To complicate matters, we’ve developed some “acceptable” sayings in English that do use good as an adverb. An example of this is “a good many more.” Why these exceptions? I have no idea.

At least we can agree that there is no such word as goodest. (Even though that would actually make sense. Who decided best was the way to go?)

To show some of the many ways good is used, here is a short story. I’ve put an βœ• next to any incorrect usages, so you can spot them in your own writing.

You May Be Good, But I’m The Goodest X

Gareth was dining alone at his usual table in the Gargoyle Monster Hunters Club when that blasted braggart Stuffington came in.

Good day, old chap,” said Stuffington. “You don’t mind if I sit here, do you?”Β He casually slid into the chair across from Gareth.

Gareth ignored him and sipped his Earl Grey tea while studiously reading the paper. Hmm. More rumours of ghost sightings in the slums.

Undeterred, Stuffington announced, “I suppose you’ve heard about my good deed for the day.Β I’m feeling quite good about it, naturally.Β Always happy to do my part.”

“I’m sure you are,” muttered Gareth behind the pages.

“It’s not every day you get to take on a gaggle of galumphing golems. There were a good many more of them than I was expecting, but I did them but good. The good people of our city won’t be bothered by them again.Β They are gone for good.”

“And yet, you’re still here,” said Gareth darkly. He gave up and folded down his paper, glaring at Stuffington.

“Oh, don’t be jealous, old boy. You did good βœ• taking down those ghouls in that gallery, even if one of them did get away.Β  It’s not your fault you’re not as good as I am. You’ll get there when you’re good and ready. You should really read my monster-hunting manual, it would do you good. Pick up some tips.”

“You know, I’m really not feeling well,” said Gareth, getting up from the table. “I’ll see you another time, Stuffington.”

“Oh, let me drive you home. I insist.” Stuffington trailed after him, talking about how the engine of his new motorcar ran so goodΒ  βœ• that he always made it everywhere in good time.

Gareth felt a prickling at the back of his neck as they left the club. He instinctively ducked sideways as a giant flapping noise came from behind him. He could feel the whoosh of air going over him as a man shrieked.

He looked up and saw Stuffington being carried away by an enormous grey gargoyle.

Goodbye,” said Gareth, not without some satisfaction.

Paisley Abbey New Gargoyles

I love these gargoyles from Paisley Abbey!

 

Bonus Word: Galumph

To galumph means either to move noisily and clumsily or to go prancing in triumph. The second meaning was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulously fun poem Jabberwocky.

***

Gargoyle picture Β© User:ColinΒ /Β Wikimedia Commons /Β CC-BY-SA-3.0

Definitions were supplied by the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

This post is dedicated to Lori MacLaughlin and Shawn. Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I will hilariously hunt down the horrible letter H…

 

Β© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015

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49 thoughts on “Rogue Words from A to Z: You May Be Good, But I’m the Goodest

  1. Thanks for the link back! That’s a great idea! Loving the words. I have always tried to use galumph in any paper that I turned in at college πŸ™‚ Couldn’t do it with all of them, but I tired.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maryann is absolutely right! Learning about “good” was so much fun. And the bonus word? Great choice! Thanks for bringing the memories of these quatrain verses. They are so much fun their iambic rhythm!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Anabel! Yes, that answer irritates a lot of people. It’s one of those constructions that’s technically grammatically correct, but makes no sense when you think about it. Unless, I suppose, you want to clarify that you are not evil! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh no, this is one of those grammar rules that, as I read about it, it gets all scrambled in my brain and I start blanking out and thinking about pancakes. For the most part, I think I do well (-ish) with good vs. well. But I do know, when in slang mode, sometimes I don’t care and it goes out the window. πŸ˜›

    Highlight of this post, however, is you using “gaggle” and “galumph” in the same sentence. You’re a rock star! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmmm…pancakes. I can’t say as I blame you, eating those is a lot more fun than learning about grammar rules! I’m happy you liked the “gaggle” and “galumph” together. I was trying for as many G words as possible. πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. I snorted when you added that “nah-nah-nah…” hahaha! And is that gargoyle from Alien?! Neat. πŸ˜€

    My eyes were swimming on this one. I do know how to use these (I’m always correcting my Japanese students’ usage of this pair of words). I do wonder, though, about better and best. English is a funny language. πŸ™‚ Particularly when it comes to homonyms. My poor students cry when I tell them all the radically different meanings of “bow”, for example. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_true_homonyms)

    And I might as well ask here… quotation marks that are not dialogue… I seem to have it set in my brain that if I am doing quotes like the one above (“bow”) the comma or other punctuation should be outside of the “bubble”, (again!) but then I read it should not be, so I started putting the punctuation on the inside (much to my displeasure, as it looks odd.) Then, yesterday, I saw that Facebook does it my original way when they send you a notification… So now I am mightily confused! XD Help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, homonyms are awful. I can see why your students have challenges!

      As far as the comma in quotations question goes, it depends on which style you are following. In standard North American style, the comma goes inside of the quotes. In British English, the comma goes outside of the quotes. So I’m not surprised you’ve seen it both ways! I’m used to the inside version, so the other way looks wrong to me. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Good to know. I guess I have to force my brain to do it the American way… blarg. Maybe I should just pretend I’m Canadian. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

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