Grammar Q: well vs good

My girlfriend and I are having a debate about which of the following sentences is proper English:

  1. The photos turned out well.

  2. The photos turned out good.

Thanks in advance!

To me, (1) says the photos all appeared as intended. Nothing bad happened. (2) says the photos look good, having a quality better than average.

Well is an adverb, and using it to describe how the pictures turned out speaks to the developing process rather than the quality of the pictures. If that is what the examples are trying to say, then well is okay in this case. Perhaps the mistake is that somebody is using “the pictures turned out well” (they developed nicely or properly) to mean “the pictures look good”.

Now, while that’s all very well and good, but I am pretty certain that well has slipped into common usage as an adjective and can probably be used in place of good almost anywhere but on your dissertation.

I’m not a linguist (though I think I’d like to be), but as far as I can tell it’s #1. Well is an adverb, in this case modifying turn. Good, on the other hand, is an adjective.

I think in this case, turn out is a linking verb, and so should take an adjective good. You’d say These photos turned out grainy and not These photos turned out grainily. However, at the same time, I’ve never heard it explicitly said that turn out can be used as a linking verb, so I dunno.

So is it improper to say ‘good’ after someone asks you “How are you?”

‘Well’ most certainly can be used as an adjective. I draw your attention to definition 3 and 6 below (from

If, as Attrayant suggests, it has slipped into common usage as an adjective, it did so over 800 years ago and we might consider accepting such usage as common now.

(bolding in the above quote was added by me)

Sorry aeropl, I didn’t see your post before I sent off the above missive. It is certainly ok to use ‘good’ as an adjective in such a manner. I am assuming that the unstated part of that sentence is “I feel …” or “I am…”

Merriam-Websters has the following note about usage of ‘good’ at the end of its main entry:

Ah, I didn’t realize that well is as general an adjective as Motog’s cite claims. In that case, I say that either sentence in the OP is equally correct. Using well in this case does sound strange to me, but that’s my problem. :slight_smile:

All’s good that ends well.