cooked well vs. well cooked

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Senior Member
Hi everyone.

I have some examples with "well" before and after the verb. I'm wondering if:
1. Both possibilities are correct:
- cooked well / well cooked
- done well / well done
- cleaned well / well cleaned (room)
- watered well / well watered (plant)
- ...

2. the meaning is the same.
I feel there's a difference between saying "This meat is well cooked" and "This meat is cooked well".
For me "well cooked" means that it's not raw any more. "Cooked well" means that the spices and herbs added to the meat match perfectly and the meat is tasty.

Please help in this case.

If both possibilities are correct, can we use these "constructions" (whatever we call them) to all verbs. I know only the first two ones (cooked and done), I made up the third and fourth ones.
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Your interpretation of the difference between "well cooked" and "cooked well" are correct. Likewise "watered well" could mean watered efficiently whereas "well watered" would mean having been given a sufficient supply of water.

    "Done well" would mean done is an efficient manner but well done could mean done too excess / overcooked.

    I am not sure about "well cleaned!"


    Senior Member
    British English
    For me the difference is between action and state.

    "Cooked well" is a <verb><adverb> combination. "Well cooked" can also be that but it is more likely to be used as an adjective.


    "This is a well cooked piece of meat."
    :tick: (adjective)
    "This is a cooked well piece of meat." :cross:

    "This meat should be cooked well." (<verb> <adverb>)
    "This meat should be well cooked." (<adverb> <verb>)


    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    To me your examples of the "well done, well watered" type describe a state of being, whereas " done well, watered well" qualifies the action.

    It is well done, well watered, well cleaned - seem to describe the current state of 'it'.

    Where this makes a difference to me is in the use of conjugated verb forms.

    It has been cleaned well indicates that it is now well cleaned.

    It was once cleaned well doesn't necessarily mean it's currently well cleaned.

    I hope that helps.:eek:


    Senior Member
    Thanks a lot!!!

    If anyone has other examples which are quite often used in everyday language and would like to share them, I'd be more than happy :)
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