You have been anxiously preparing for a final exam. Finally, the day arrives, and you take the test. After completion, your friend greets you and asks, “Did it go well?” What does it mean? Why didn’t she say, “Did it go good?”
It is correct to ask, “Did it go well?” It is a way of asking whether the hearer perceives the outcome of an event or situation as favorable. “Did it go well?” is proper, while “Did it go good” is not because “good” is an adjective and “well” is an adverb. “Well” refers to how things progressed.
Read on to discover more about “Did it go well?” and learn in what contexts you should use it.
What Does “Did It Go Well” Mean?
To ask, “Did it go well?” means you are inquiring about the outcome of a situation and whether it was favorable or unfavorable. Asking “Did it go well?” is an informal question you can ask among friends or a superior asks a subordinate. It has a more hopeful tone than the more open-ended “How did it go?”
To understand “Did it go well,” our first step is to define “well” as an adverb instead of a verb or noun. We can use it as a noun to describe a water source we draw from (source). We can also use “well” as a verb to describe the action of something rising to the surface (source).
When asking, “Did it go well?” the word “well” is functioning as an adverb that means something is working in a favorable or acceptable way (source). Of course, we can also use “well” adverbially to indicate that something is of a significant degree, but that is not the usage here.
Asking, “Did it go well?” is similar to asking, “Did you fare well?” “Fare” as an intransitive verb is becoming less popular than “go.” It is more common to ask, “Did it go well?” than to ask, “Did it fare well?” It would, however, be more common to say, “Did you fare well?” than to say, “Did you go well?”
Someone may also ask, “How did it go?” Such a question has a similar meaning but is more open-ended. You would be more likely to respond to “How did it go?” by telling a story of the event. Whereas asking “Did it go well?” invites less of a story and more of a direct response, such as “It went well.”
How Do You Use “Did It Go Well”?
We typically use “Did it go well?” as an informal way of asking a person how they fared in a situation. You use this question to express hope that a potentially anxious situation went favorably for the person you are asking. However, you would primarily ask it of someone you have a prior relationship with.
There is a common mistake that even native English speakers make involving the word “well.” This mistake involves using the word “good” instead of “well.” If the outcome favors you, you might be tempted to say, “It went good.” But this is not proper grammar.
Also, “Did it go good?” is not the correct phrasing of the question. “Good” is an adjective; “well” is an adverb. As an adjective, “good” modifies a person, place, thing, or idea. The word you modify in the question “Did it go well?” is “go.” “Go” is a verb. Therefore, you need to use an adverb – like “well.”
Read this to better understand the difference between “doing well” or “doing good”: Doing Well or Doing Good: Can Both Be Correct?
“Go” is the main verb of this sentence, and it is in its base form. When most think of the word “go,” they think of movement. But here, it means something like “develop,” “happen,” or “turn out” (source).
“Did” is the past tense of the verb “do.” This indicates that the event or outcome in question has already occurred. You are not asking whether the event “will go” well (future) but rather “did” the event go well (past).
The word “it” in the sentence gives a couple of context clues. First, it tells us that the “it” is understood by both parties. This also tells us that this is a question you ask immediately after the event in question. Otherwise, you need to define the referent.
When Can You Use “Did It Go Well”?
If you are vested in an event’s outcome, it is appropriate to ask, “Did it go well?” You use this informal question among peers or family members when you are interested in the outcome of something that concerns them. A boss or team leader may also ask this question.
If your son had an important test at school, which you helped him prepare for, “Did it go well?” would be an appropriate question to ask when he comes home. He will likely know that “it” refers to the big test. But if you asked this question later at night, he would probably struggle to know the reference.
This question to your son would also be appropriate because you asked it as soon as you picked him up from school. If you waited until later that evening, he would likely not know the referent. In this case, it would be more appropriate to ask, “Did the test go well?”
This is also a common question after someone has a difficult conversation. If your friend must have a difficult conversation with her boyfriend and she calls you immediately after, “Did it go well?” would be an appropriate question. The same scenario applies when a co-worker has a tense meeting with the boss.
This may also be a question that a team leader asks after you have an appointment with an important client. “Did it go well?” is asking whether or not the meeting went in a favorable direction for the company, not your personal feelings.
In What Context Can You Use “Did It Go Well?”
You use “Did it go well?” in mostly informal conversations when you have a shared interest with the person you are asking. This is a question to ask when the situation is significant, you have a prior relationship, and you are speaking to either a peer or a subordinate.
To ask, “Did it go well?” the context should be relatively significant. This question carries some level of emotion or anticipation. The outcome matters.
If a person puts a dollar into a soda machine, you will not ask, “Did it go well?” Instead, you will ask, “Did you get your soda?” But you will ask, “Did it go well?” after a loved one has a potentially scary doctor’s visit. Or you will ask this question after a child takes a critical test or a friend has a difficult conversation.
You also ask this question to those with whom you have a prior relationship. Otherwise, it is inappropriate. You must have a vested interest in the outcome. That vested interest could be the depth of your relationship with the person you are asking. But this is not a question to ask strangers.
Pastor Frank said something hurtful during one of his sermons. Though his words did not impact most of the congregation, this was especially harmful to a young lady named Janet. She confided in her friend Kathy, who encouraged Janet to speak with her pastor.
Janet’s meeting was set for Tuesday at 10 AM. Kathy promised to go to the church with her but did not believe it was appropriate to attend the meeting. Finally, after a nervous 45 minutes, Janet emerged from the pastor’s office. With hope and deep concern, Kathy asked Janet, “Did it go well?”
Notice that in the above scenario, Kathy and Janet are peers. Also, notice that they share an interest in the outcome because of the depth of their relationship. And the situation is undoubtedly significant, as it has led to many sleepless nights for Janet. In this situation, asking, “Did it go well?” is similar to asking, “How are you feeling?”
Using “Did It Go Well?” in a Full Sentence
“Did it go well?” is typically a stand-alone sentence. But if you want to be more specific about the “it,” you can add a few words to the sentence for clarity.
“Did it go well” can appear at the beginning or the end of a sentence. It typically stands alone, but you can give more context for clarity.
- Did it go well in your conversation with Jim?
- You had your meeting with Jim; did it go well?
- Did it go well yesterday?
- Did it go well after you had your back surgery?
When Not to Use “Did It Go Well?”
There are a few situations where “Did it go well?” is not appropriate to use. Though likely not giving a deep offense, this question might seem inappropriate or intrusive without a prior relationship. It may also be nonsensical if asked in certain situations.
If your friend has social anxiety about going into a shopping center, it might be okay to ask, “Did it go well?” after she returns. But if she loves to shop and simply goes in for a pair of shoes, asking this question might seem a bit dramatic for the situation. Instead, you would likely ask, “Did you find the shoes?”
“Did it go well?” is not the right question to ask if the situation is insignificant. One may jokingly ask this question after someone has been in the restroom for a long time. If you are in an emotionally challenging situation, “Did it go well?” would be appropriate.
If you are waiting in the doctor’s office and strike up a lengthy conversation with the person sitting next to you, it might be okay to ask, “Did it go well?” when they come back into the lobby after meeting with the doctor. But for the most part, such a question would be inappropriate without a prior relationship.
If a stranger goes into a potentially frightening situation or one that could be emotionally charged, it is not appropriate for you to ask, “Did it go well?” A hearer may perceive this as an intrusive question. You may want to try an alternative question if you are deeply concerned for their well-being.
Your boss is meeting with an important client. She has not confided in you that this is an important meeting, but you know from working in accounting that this client is a critical account. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to ask your superior, “Did it go well?” after the meeting.
What Can You Use Instead of “Did It Go Well”?
“Did it go well?” is another way of asking, “Did you find the outcome of this event favorable?” but that is wordy and awkward. There are a few other alternatives to asking the same question.
Some options include:
- How did that go?
- Did you fare well?
- Did that turn out how you thought it would?
- Did this go as expected?
- Are you encouraged or discouraged by what happened?
- Are you doing okay with how that went?
You can use an adverb to provide more information to answer a question accurately in English. Many adverbs are made by adding an -ly to an adjective, but a few (such as “well”) do not end in -ly.
The most straightforward use for an adverb is to describe a verb.
- The frog happily jumped.
In this sentence, “happily” functions as an adverb. If you desire to tell someone that a frog jumped, it is only necessary to say, “The frog jumped.” But if you want to answer “how” the frog jumped, add the adverb “happily.”
When modifying verbs, adverbs can come before or after the word they modify. For example, “The frog happily jumped” is correct. “The frog jumped happily” is also correct.
You can also use adverbs to modify adjectives. For example, if you want to tell us the color of the frog who happily jumped, you could use an adjective like “yellow.”
- The yellow frog happily jumped.
But if you want to be a little more descriptive of the yellow color and point out how strange it is for a frog to be yellow, you can add another adverb to modify the adjective.
- The weirdly yellow frog happily jumped.
The simplest way to make an adverb is to add an -ly to an adjective. The adjective “weird” becomes the adverb “weirdly” by adding -ly. But some other adverbs do not have an -ly ending. Here are a few examples (source):
Idioms are atypical uses of a word or a phrase. They are figurative language and typically unique to the culture they belong to.
In the question, “Did it go well?” you use “go” idiomatically. When we think of “go,” we tend to think of physical movement. However, over time, “go” has come to mean more than physical activity – it now describes the action or progression of abstract nouns and events.
“Go well” does not mean that something moves proficiently. It is an idiomatic phrase synonymous with “fare well.” If you hope that something “goes well,” you hope the outcome is favorable. There are other idioms involving “go”:
|Go back on||To not keep your promise|
|Go all the way||To have sexual intercourse|
|Go for it||To put all your effort into accomplishing a goal|
|No go||To cancel something or announce that something will not work|
|Go places||A prediction that someone will be successful in life or business|
|Go to pieces||To become emotionally unsettled or suffer loss|
You can ask a question directly, indirectly, or with question tags in English. Modifying your form can also make potentially impolite or intrusive questions polite.
A direct question can be perceived as rude or pushy because they ask for the information directly. “Are you married?” is a direct question. A stranger may think this is intrusive.
You can keep a question from being impolite or intrusive by changing it to an indirect question. “I was wondering, are you married?” may be a less invasive way to ask the question. These are other common phrases you can use to make a direct question more polite:
- May I ask…
- Could you tell me…
- I wonder if you could help me with…
- Do you know…
- Is it possible to…
- Would you…
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If your friend just had an important doctor’s visit to determine whether she has cancer, it would be rude to directly ask, “Do you have cancer?” Instead, you could try some of these common phrases to ask an indirect question. Or, you could ask, “Did it go well?”
“Did it go well?” is a polite question we ask to determine if someone perceives an outcome as favorable. You can employ this when a situation is significant to you or someone close to you.