Correctly Using Good & Better & Best!

One thing that throws off ESL students is irregular forms…

One thing that throws off ESL students is irregular forms of comparative and superlative adjectives. Regular adjectives have a simple rule: to make an adjective comparative, add suffixes “-er” or “r,” and you are done!

Comparatives and Superlatives — A Quick Guide

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Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Some things are good, and others are better, and only the crème de la crème rises to the height of the best. These three words — good, better, and best — are examples of adjectives and adverbs in three forms: positive, comparative, and superlative.

The positive form is the most basic form of an adjective or adverb given in a dictionary. Examples include fast, slow, big, small, and of course, good.

When comparing and contrasting two things, you have to be familiar with comparative adjectives. In regard to the examples given in the previous paragraph, their comparative forms would be faster, slower, bigger, smaller, and better.

The superlative form is the highest or least measure of the quality given. As an example of the adjectives from above, their superlative forms would be fastest, biggest, smallest, and the best.

Comparatives and superlatives can be formed easily. The form depends on how many syllables are found in the original adjective.

You can create these forms according to a few fairly simple rules. When the adjective has only one syllable, add the suffixes -er/-est.

If it has more than three syllables, use more/the most: more complicated book/the most expensive car.

Two-syllable adjectives are a little more complicated. If you end with -y, -er, –le, or -ow, you can use either form. For example, a gentler person.

Two-syllable adjectives that don’t end with these can only use more/the most. Another example: the most boring book.

Irregulars – Good, Better, Best in Grammar

In English grammar, there are a couple of irregular adjectives. These don’t conform to the rules we mentioned above. For these exceptions, you have to memorize their comparative and superlative forms.

Good, better, and best are in this category. However, they aren’t the only ones.

The adjective bad is also an irregular one. Its comparative form is worse, and its superlative form is the worst. 

Here are some more irregular adjectives used commonly in English:

  • Far > Further > The Furthest
  • Well > Better > The Best
  • Little > Less > The Least
  • Many > More > The Most

Although there aren’t many of these irregular adjectives, the ones that are irregular are used frequently. So do your best to memorize these the best you can!

To Wrap Up

When we had to choose between the good and the better, there is really no contest. We would go for the good.

But when the choice was between the good and the best, we would choose the best. The difference is that the good has a neutral connotation, but the best has a positive connotation.

Frequently asked questions

Did good or did well?

Here is the rule: Use “well” as an adverb (describes a verb) and “good” as a noun (defines nebulous words). The following are examples of correct usage: “The car runs well.” ; “He is a good puppy.”.

Is all good a right sentence?

Yes. An English phrase that is very effectively grammatically correct and very simple.

Is it do good or do well?

It is standard adverb to say “do well.” You take your exams well, you do well in your studies, you excel at school or work well. Do good is not even colloquial and it isn’t a standard English word.

Is pretty good better than good?

Pretty good hamburgers are less delicious than very good hamburger. For a smoother tone to each sentence, use “very” instead of “pretty.” This helps soften the meaning, so it does not seem aggressive or rude.

Is good better than fine?

Fine is the strongest of all. The term is roughly translated as high quality, or excellent. Nice and Good are basically the same things when describing objects.

Is good English correct?

I speak English well because the adverb well gives us more information about the verb speak. Good, as an adjective, modifies a noun English to make a sentence “I speak good English.”.

How do you use good and well in a sentence?

  • You smell good today, for example:. Good is not how you sniff with your nose. Your skin smells good for someone with a cold. This is where you’re sniffing actively with your nose, so use the adverb.
  • Symptoms of depression: I am feeling unwell today. You don’t look well.
  • Explanation: He doesn’t like having cheated.

Is it grammatically correct to say I did good?

I did good. It’s usually not good to use it as an adverb. Good is an adjective, but it also appears as an adverb in informal AAE. So both sentences are fine.

Is good grammatically correct?

An adjective is good and an adverb is well. A noun is modifiable by something; something can appear good or be evil. A verb can be modified well; an action can be done well. However, when you’re talking about health, then well can be used as an adjective.

What is the correct form for good?

The following examples are correct: Both good and well change to better and best in their comparative and superlative forms. Compare two items in a comparative manner – a better option. Compare three or more items with the superlative form – best practice.

Can I say all is good?

The term ‘it’s all good’ seems to be frequently used during or after conversations. You may not be familiar with the phrase, but it is an alternative to saying “no worries” or “it is not all bad.”. A few months ago, I noticed how and when people use it.

Is it I write good or well?

Why is “to write” an adjective, so choose well.

How do you say your good in English?

  • Thank you very much.
  • My body feels great / marvellous / fine.
  • Couldn’t be better
  • There’s just enough room for a fiddle.
  • Very well, thanks
  • Okay
  • Alright
  • Not bad

Did you sleep well or good?

As a result, sleep good is considered incorrect, regardless of the fact that people may use it – only sleep well should be used in correct English. Good night, sleep well.

What does I’m good mean?

1. My health and well-being are generally satisfactory.

Correctly Using Good & Better & Best!

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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