• 3-minute read
  • 17th December 2019

Writing Tips: Synonyms for Good and Bad

The words “good” and “bad” express how we feel about something. However, they’re also overused, which means they can lack impact.

To make your writing more powerful, then, you might want to use some of the synonyms for “good” and “bad” from below.

Synonyms for “Good”

“Good” has many uses as a noun and an adjective. Here, we’ll focus on the adjectival uses, where its basic meaning is “desirable” or “of a high standard.”

Note, though, that the best alternative will depend on what you’re trying to say. Here’s a list of some common uses of “good” and suitable synonyms:




Acceptable in quality or degree

We have a good sense of how to proceed.

adequate, fair, satisfactory, sufficient

High quality or desirable

Ghostbusters is a good film.

brilliant, excellent, great, outstanding, superb

Useful or beneficial

Regular exercise is good for your health.

advantageous, helpful, positive, valuable

Morally good or agreeable

good person helps those in need.

admirable, decent, respectable, virtuous

Skilled or capable

He is a very good singer.

accomplished, proficient, skillful, talented

Pleasant or pleasing

That flower smells good.

delightful, enjoyable, nice, pleasurable, satisfying

The best way to pick a “good” (i.e., acceptable) synonym is to know what you’re trying to say. This will often lead you to a more descriptive alternative.

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Synonyms for “Bad”

We say something is “bad” to express a negative opinion. It is, therefore, the opposite of good in every sense. Here are several alternative terms:




Low quality or faulty

bad diet can cause health issues.

deficient, inadequate, mediocre, poor

Of a very low quality

Bathing in a tub of scorpions was a bad idea.

awful, dreadful, terrible, unacceptable

Harmful or negative

Smoking is bad for you.

damaging, detrimental, injurious, unhealthy

Immoral or disagreeable

Bad behavior will be punished.

evil, reprehensible, unpleasant, wrong

Unpleasant or unwelcome

We saw the bad news on television.

abhorrent, disagreeable, troublesome, undesirable

There are other uses of “bad” not described here, such as describing an injured body part (e.g., a “bad back”) or rotten food (e.g., “bad meat”). As with “good,” this makes it important to check the definition of synonyms for “bad.”

“Good” and “Bad” in Academic Writing

It’s okay to use words like “good” and “bad” in academic writing, but they’re not usually enough by themselves. This is because they’re evaluative rather than descriptive. For example, if we were writing about management techniques, we might say, “Unpaid overtime is bad for staff morale.” That is an evaluation. But to demonstrate our understanding, we’d also need to explain why it’s bad and how we reached that conclusion.

The answer, then, is to remember that academic writing requires an explanation of our judgments. The same applies to these words in other forms of critical writing. Another option is to have your work proofread by the experts. As part of this service, we will highlight and suggest replacements for “weak” language like “good” and “bad” if it is misused. And this, in turn, will make sure that your writing makes more of an impact.

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