English learner here, and I have a simple question.
Can a word 'good' stand for entire good things? Or do I have to add some words such as things, ones, etc.?

You deserve good.
You deserve good things. You deserve good ones.
Is it grammatically correct to say only "you deserve good"?

  • It may be used as a colloquialism by some, but only if further words are implied but not uttered e.g. "They have given you bad eggs - you deserve good (ones)".
    – WS2
    Jan 1, 2018 at 11:43
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    'Good' as a noun with the meaning you ask about is certainly commonly used: << Stop seeing him, for your own good! / Wind power is turning out to be for the good of all men. >> But 'You deserve good', while not ungrammatical, sounds rather unnatural without padding. 'You deserve to have a good life' is probably more idiomatic. Jan 1, 2018 at 11:57
  • I noticed there were already two close votes, but I voted to migrate this to English Language Learners.
    – J.R.
    Jan 1, 2018 at 12:17
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    Why do we implicitly encourage strange usages by not giving simple, direct topic sentences. This is not a standard idiomatic usage. Some may use it colloquially. And "good" can certainly be used as a noun in certain circumstances, but in this case, the natural question would be "you deserve good what?" Jan 1, 2018 at 16:21

2 Answers 2

  • You deserve happy NO ("happy" is an adjective)
  • You deserve happiness YES ("happiness" is a noun)

  • You deserve rich NO ("rich" is an adjective)

  • You deserve wealth YES ("wealth" is a noun)

  • You deserve good NO

  • You deserve the best YES

In order to tell someone that they deserve "good" you need a verbal phrase or a noun substitute. For example, They deserve to have a good life, He deserves a good job, She deserves a good holiday/vacation/rest.

Normally, in the days leading up to the New Year, we wish family and friends "good things" e.g.

  • "I wish you joy and happiness in 2018"
  • "We wish you prosperity and health",
  • "I wish you a happy 2018"

A "happy" 2018 means the speaker is wishing "good things" for the person.


As Jeff Morrow points out in his comment, "You deserve good", while something you could say, is not a standard idiomatic usage. I don't know why. We might tell someone that they are good, or that their life is good, or even talk about the abstract concept of "good" (as opposed to "evil"), for example:

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

A more common, related expression is "You deserve better" to indicate the current situation should be improved. Some context is required:

Your boss doesn't appreciate all the hard work you do. You deserve better.

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