Fuck the Haters: Why "I'm Doing Good" is Grammatically Correct

"How are you?" the perky barista asks. It's a beautiful day, you've got a pep in your step, so with a friendly smile you shoot back "I'm doing good, how are you?"

That's when the cheer drains from the room.

With a sarcastic, pitying smile, like one you'd give to a small child who'd just reported they'd only peed a little on the seat, the barista smugly responds "I'm doing well, thanks."

She goes on to ask what you'd like to order, but who cares at this point? She just fucking corrected your grammar in the most passive-aggressive way possible. You look like a braindead hick at this point. You're doing good? What fucking barn did you go to school in? "Doing GOOD? Charities do good – I think you'll find that what you're looking for is an adverb – you're doing well", the barista has icily communicated to you telepathically, ruining your entire goddamn day. Who gives a shit about your venti half-whip pumpkin chai whatever-the-fuck? All that you taste is the bitter disappointment of knowing that you speak like a poor.

Wait. Stop. Don't kill yourself just yet.

What if I told you that "I'm doing good" is, in fact, grammatically correct?

Come with me. Let me show you how you're right, and how the entire world is full of self-righteous dipshits who've been misled about the rules of grammar.

The spirit of their overzealous correction is true – when describing a verb, you generally need an adverb, not an adjective. This is basic 5th-grade stuff. "Adrian Peterson runs good" is something only a spittle-flecked yokel would say. Adrian Peterson runs well. This is the rule that we were all taught growing up, and which some of us took to heart more than others. The problem is, as with all things in the English language, there are no rules.

Languages like French and Spanish have entire heavy leather-bound books full of rules on standardized spelling and verb conjugations and sentence construction. English is a mongrel language, bred from an incestuous, tangled family tree of German and Latin ancestors, born in an outhouse. Almost every single "rule" of the English language they try to teach you in grade school is wrong.

  • "Never end a sentence with a preposition." Bullshit, there are loads of times when it's appropriate to do so. Which of these sounds more correct: "I'm watching football, if you'd like to come over", or "I'm watching football, if over you'd like to come?"
  • "Never start a sentence with the word 'because'." Bullshit. Because of this rule, people are idiots.
  • "I before E, except after C." Hey, that's a wEIrd rule.
  • "Use an adverb, not an adjective, after any verb." You guessed it – total bullshit.

In this case, "doing" in "I'm doing good" isn't an action verb. Doing can be an action verb, but in this case, it's not. It's a linking verb, linking the subject, I, to the predicative adjective, good. "Good" is a state of being. When you say "I'm good", or "I'm doing good", or "I'm feeling good", the word "good" isn't meant to modify the respective verbs "am", "doing", or "feeling". It's meant to describe the state of the subject, "I". (The phrases "I'm good", "I'm doing good" and "I'm feeling good" are all correct for the same basic reason, so I'll use all three cases interchangeably.)

If you're "feeling good", it means your life's good. If you're "feeling well", that means you may have suffered nerve damage in your fingers, but as your sense of feeling comes back, now you're starting to FEEL things well. See the difference?

(Important note on the word "well": just to confuse things, on top of being the adverb form of "good", the word "well" can also be an adjective, meaning healthy. Technically, it can be correct to say "I'm well", if you were sick and now you're trying to say "I'm healthy". Proponents of "I'm doing/feeling well" might use this as an excuse. That's bullshit, though – you'd never answer "how are you" with "I'm healthy.")

(Another note: yes, "doing good" can also imply some sort of altruism, but in that case "good" is a noun. Don't let the "You're doing good? What, you mean like a charity?" self-righteous comebacks bring you down. Sentences can mean different things, and you should be able to tell the difference between doing good and doing good.)

If you "doing well" zealots still aren't convinced, and are still clinging to the hard-and-fast rule that Mrs. Borokowsky taught you in grade school about adverbs, let's change things up a bit. Say you're not feeling so good – say you're sad.

-"How are you?" -"I'm feeling sadly."

You would never in a hundred years say something like that. "I'm feeling madly"? "I'm feeling shittily"? It makes no sense as an adverb in this case. You're feeling mad, or shitty. So why force the issue with the adjective "good" by insisting on its adverb cousin, "well"?

Don't worry – you're not the only one who's wrong. It seems as if the entire fucking world has been misled on this. Every single day, someone will ask me how I'm doing, and after I say I'm doing good, they passive-aggressively respond that they're doing well. If you do a Google search, every single resource will smugly explain that "doing well" is correct because, duh, "well" is an adverb, don't you silly American peons know anything. I've had enough of it.

Fuck you all.

The next time some haughty dipshit tries to correct you for saying "I'm doing good" by saying "Oh, are you Mother Theresa? Because, I think what you mean is that you're doing well" – just punch them in the goddamn face for being so wrong.

Then they won't be doing good.