What's the difference between "That is not good" and "That is not well"? In what context should each expression be used or does it not make any difference?


That's not good. He should do the right thing.


That's not well. He should do the right thing.


2 Answers 2


These are the differences:

"That's not good"- correct

"That's not well" - weird

Normally and generally, the word "good" is used to be an adjective (describes nouns) while the the word "well" is to be an adverb (describes verbs).

For example:

I saw (verb) it well. (rather than "I saw it good").

It's a good thing (noun). (rather than "It's a well thing").

But when you are talking about "well" in the meaning of healthy then there is twist and it also describes a noun. For example: "She is well" (she is healthy) or "She is not well" (she is not healthy).

For more information, read here and here.

  • The adjective and adverb bit is the salient point. Good describes something, well tells you how something was done.
    – D. Nelson
    Dec 3, 2016 at 12:45

'That's not good.' is a commonly used phrase in English and is correctly used as in your example. It usually used as a statement to show that in the judgment of the speaker some situation or event is bad or sub-optimal. It can also be used as a humorous understatement if the event is really bad.

'That's not well.' is not a commonly used phrase. Although this is not really bad English, it would be more correct to use the statement 'That's not good.' in its place instead.

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