Anybody else remember this line? “Superman does good, you do well.” The first person to tell me who said it wins a cookie! (Send me your contact information and I’ll make sure you get a cookie.)
Today’s message is about conveying a message without sounding like a fool both on paper and in conversation. Show your interviewer that you understand basic English and, sadly enough, they will be impressed that you know how to communicate like a human being.
Maybe I am just being a grammar freak, but it really bugs me when I hear “good” and “well” used interchangeably. So, we are going to break it down to a simple, elementary school English lesson. According to Oxford English Dictionary, “good” is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns, such as Spark Hire or you- as in you, the person reading this article. “Well”, according to same source, is an adverb, which we should all know describes verbs.
“Can you use it in a sentence please?” Why, certainly. If someone is saying “you look good,” then they are using “good” as a way to describe you. You do not do “good” because if someone wanted to say you were doing something right, they would say “you are doing something well.” “Well” is being used to describe what you are doing.
Now you can impress your English professor with knowledge you should have had since the fifth grade that everyone seems to have forgotten. It seems like a small edge to have over other people, but it is certainly a noticeable one.
Now, of course you, are free to write and speak as you wish. However, you should know that when you send emails or Facebook messages laced with broken grammar, misspellings and errant apostrophes people, such as employers, will judge you. In all actuality, there should not be an excuse for these violations since both terrible spellers and English laureates alike have access to dictionaries, guidebooks, and auto-correct functions. Quite frankly, it is absurd that anything resembling improper grammar be tolerated in today’s age. Yet we sill get people who think tYPinG LiKe THis is Kool 2 DO. Hint, un1355 y0u kn0w 1337, y0u 5h0u1d n07 b3 u5ing numb3r5 4nd 13773r5 in y0ur 73×7.
If you can read that, then you are like me and have WAY too much time on your hands. Stop it. Read a book. I hear Mario Puzo wrote quite a few interesting titles some years back. I know it may sound a bit posh of me to lecture people on proper grammar, considering I have two editors to go through and you can still go through each article here and tally up the crimes of using passive voice, but it is something I do notice. If I notice and make a big deal over it, imagine what your professor or potential employer must go through.
If you are also like me and know when your grammar could use a little work, do your best attempt to make it look like you are trying to get better. I for one am getting sick of hearing the older generation complain about our bad habits. We have committed enough crimes against common sense- low riding pants, the Jersey Shore- let us not add “screwed up the written word” to that list.
Real quick, some of you might be thinking that “good” can be used as a helping verb. You would be correct, and if that is the case, then kudos to you for being more clever than your peers.
Questions? Ideas or suggestions? Follow me on twitter @ChrisComella or email me at [email protected]
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