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  1. #1
    sparkle2 is offline Newbie
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    Default well-paying vs. good-paying

    Bernie Sanders (Sen. from Vermont) and the California Secretary of State (in 2006 election materiel) both use "good-paying jobs" which totally grated on my ear. Because you're modifying a verb, shouldn't the adverb "well" be used instead? "Well-paid" is standard usage, therefore why not "well-paying"?

  2. #2
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkle2 View Post
    Bernie Sanders (Sen. from Vermont) and the California Secretary of State (in 2006 election materiel) both use "good-paying jobs" which totally grated on my ear. Because you're modifying a verb, shouldn't the adverb "well" be used instead? "Well-paid" is standard usage, therefore why not "well-paying"?
    Good-paying is hyphenated (good-paying as if it was one word). So "good" doesn't refer to "paying" but to "job". Compare: good-natured man (you don't say well-natured). To me a "well paid" job need not be hyphenated because well refers to paid. I don't know whether the present participle "paying" is at work here.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 16-Jul-2007 at 22:03.

  3. #3
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    I have a different explanation for this, Jamshid. You may correct me if I'm wrong.

    As long as well-paid modifies a noun, it is hyphenated. Just like in " a laid-back person", for instance.

    'good-paid' or 'good-paying' must be usual errors of informal English vernacular. "good" modifies a verb, so it has to be an adverb - but 'good' is never an adverb, 'well' is.

    Listen to this: 'How are you? - I'm feeling good' or 'I'm good, with or without you', 'It's a very good done job, I must say'. I cringe whenever I hear 'good' used as an adverb. I often heard such phrases while in Virginia. Spoken E is relaxed, free from boundaries and constraints. In writing, however, there are rules - "well" is the adverb, and should replace "good" in the aforementioned expressions.

    Was my explanation well? Or good? (just kidding)
    Last edited by bianca; 17-Jul-2007 at 15:35.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    Has it been unwell?

  5. #5
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    I have to agree with Bianca that ‘I'm feeling goodor 'It's a very good done job’ is bad English. However, I don’t see anything wrong with ‘I'm good’ since ‘good’ here modifies ‘I’ as an adjective. Cf. I’m happy; I’m fine.

    I am also inclined to agree ‘good’ in ‘good-paying jobs’ modifies ‘paying’ which in turn modifies the noun ‘jobs’. ‘Paying’ is therefore an adjective and ‘good’ functions as an adverb and hence it should grammatically be ‘well’.

    Some examples: Well-made car; well-run engine; well-priced item; widely-read book (not*wide-read book); hugely-taxing job (not *huge-taxing job).

  6. #6
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    However, I don’t see anything wrong with ‘I'm good’ since ‘good’ here modifies ‘I’ as an adjective. Cf. I’m happy; I’m fine.
    No, I am sorry but good doesn't modify "I". It links the adjective with the subject. "Be" is a link(ing) verb (copula) that's why it takes an adjective.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 18-Jul-2007 at 08:38.

  7. #7
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    I agree. 'I'm good' is an ellipsis for 'I'm feeling good', and good modifies the verb 'feeling' (which in the first sentence is 'invisible' but implied). I'm well, I'm fine, I'm OK...
    Last edited by bianca; 18-Jul-2007 at 20:20.

  8. #8
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim
    No, I am sorry but good doesn't modify "I". It links the adjective with the subject. "Be" is a link(ing) verb (copula) that's why it takes an adjective.

    I can’t agree more! I guess I used the term ‘modify’ loosely. But the adjective ‘Good’ does describe or identify the subject. In your word, "It links the adjective with the subject."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: well-paying vs. good-paying

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Good-paying is hyphenated (good-paying as if it was one word). So "good" doesn't refer to "paying" but to "job". Compare: good-natured man (you don't say well-natured). To me a "well paid" job need not be hyphenated because well refers to paid. I don't know whether the present participle "paying" is at work here.
    I had to revive to this thread, since I recently saw an Obama ad in which he uses the phrase "good-paying jobs", as well as a WSJ article where the phrase was used. It seems that whenever Obama uses a phrase, or pronunciation (like divissive, rather than divisive), everyone thinks he's right and starts using it.

    The fact is, I'm sorry, doctor, but you're wrong. It is a well-paying job. Well does, in fact, modify the verb "to pay". If not it would be a good, paying job (which is a job that is both good, and pays money). The reason why you say "good-natured man" is because good is referring to his nature, which is a noun, not to the man himself. In fact, a hyphenated phrase like well-paying always follows this formula, with the first word modifying the second. If you can find an exception, I'm sure I can provide an explanation.

    This has been tearing me up inside, so thanks for listening.

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