My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Good to be Well

Everywhere that I have lived has had some colloquial communication conundrums for those who are not from their area. In Jamaica “Seen” meant “Yes” or “Do you understand,” whereas in Michigan, “Seen” could be used in either past or present tense: “I seen him coming this way.” So when I moved to South Carolina I expected some provincial differences, but I instead noticed exaggerations of common grammatical mistakes. The most egregious, by sheer volume, is the inability of the local population to use “Good” and “Well” properly.

People often use good when they should use well, especially in speech. For those of you searching your brain for 6th grade English terminology, “Good” is an adjective (a word that describes nouns) and “Well” is usually an adverb (a word used to describe verbs). Good’s meaning indicates the noun is above average or better than normal. As an adverb, Well describes or qualifies an action or to tell how or to what extent an action is carried out. You also can use "well" to describe someone's health. The trick is to remember that you do not use good to describe verbs.

Before moving around the world I always assumed that certain spoken grammatical mistakes were either sloppy slips of the tongue or a sign or a poor education/upbringing. What I’ve learned is that some words or phrases can be local accepted by all classes and educational levels. While I find this uncomfortable, I am trying to see it as part of a dialectic difference. With any luck, I’ll maintain my good grasp of the English language and still fitting in well.

No comments: