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My first concern: well or good? My second concern: Why don't they write it in simple present? You look well !

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Good is always an adjective and never an adverb. It never modifies a verb but it generally follows a linking verb serving a subject-modifier. On the other hand, well can be an adjective or adverb depending on context.

You are looking good - you look attractive.
You are looking well - your health seems well; it seems you are in the pink of health.

You can use both present continuous and simple present. That's because it's happening right in front of you! (You look good/you look well).

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Maulik is absolutely right. I just want to add that you can use both the present simple/ and present continuous. –  Vic Mar 29 at 12:44
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@Maulik V - Thanks a million, and why do they write it in present continious form ? –  user5036 Mar 29 at 12:44
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Because we use the present continuous when we're talking about actions that are taking place now, at the moment of speaking. If for example, I see in the street this very moment, I will say" Hey, you are looking good", since you're looking good to me right now, the moment we are speaking. (note: When "look" means 'appears", then we can use it in the present continuous. –  Vic Mar 29 at 12:52
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On the other hand an unchanged state using "look" can only be used in present simple. Consider "He looks like his father". –  JMB Mar 29 at 13:56
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But: "He's looking more like his father every day" is OK because it describes a changing state. –  StoneyB Mar 30 at 14:22
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You can say any of them. Note statements like "You look well" is part of a more formal English dialect. It's use or non-use can signify a person as belonging to a particular social class.

  • You're looking good.
    • A statement about overall good looks, possibly including health.
    • Currently; possibly as opposed to previously; also, if you haven't seen the person in a long time.
  • You look good.
    • A more simple compliment.
    • Not related to any prior view of how they looked nor related to the passage of time.
  • You're looking well.
    • This is a statement specifically about health.
    • Currently; possibly as opposed to previously; also, if you haven't seen the person in a long time.
  • You look well.
    • A more simple compliment about health.
    • Not related to any prior view of how they looked nor related to the passage of time.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociolinguistics.

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