Understanding your native language through mine

My son, Vincent, is a very independent toddler. He likes to push his own stroller on our morning walks, and he’s getting better at steering and managing obstacles. Today, as he pushed the stroller over a thick clump of grass that was pushing its way out of a crack in the pavement, I said to him, “You push so good!” Immediately, I rolled my eyes at my own improper English and corrected myself: “Sorry, Vincent. You push so WELL.”

I learned this distinction years ago in my high school French class when our instructor explained the difference between “bon” (good) and “bien” (well). What is that difference? Simply put, good is an adjective, so we use good (and “bon”) when we describe a noun. Well is an adverb, so we use well (and “bien”) when we describe an action.

This is just one example of how I came to better understand the rules of my native language by studying other languages. As you consider whether or not learning English (or any foreign language) is worth your time, keep in mind that you will also gain a better understanding of your own language if you do.

Be WELL and have a GOOD day 🙂

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