We Don't Speak So Good

Many adults have long since forgotten the difference between adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives modify nouns and adverbs modify verbs. A car, for example, is said to be quick because it's a noun. A job, however, is done quickly because quickly is an adverb that modifies the verb "done." Most often, a modifier that ends in –ly will be an adverb. We speak—or we should speak—of an "open" door, but we speak "openly." I am a slow runner because I run slowly.

That introduction was necessary, but my real concern today is to revive the word “well.” Well is an adverb. It is related to the word good, which is an adjective. Thus, I may be a good person, but if someone asks me how I'm doing, I am doing well, not good. I write well, speak well, drive well, and feel well. I don't do any of those things good. I do good things, but the things I'm good at are done well.

I saw a video, “Running on the Sun”, in which a trumpet instructor asks his students whether they thought they did good. They all answer no, which is a surprise to those of us watching the video. What did they think was wrong with their playing? It sounded great to me. The instructor then say, “Right! Missionaries do good. We do well.” The instructor must have been an English major. Good man.

Hopefully, if you have read this, it will echo in your mind that it's missionaries who do good1. You and I should keep trying to do well.