Bon vs. bien in French

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Bon vs. bien

Bon and bien both express positive judgements. Bon (generally meaning ‘good’) describes a positive taste or quality, while bien can be translated with adverbs like ‘well’, ‘correctly’ and ‘right’.
Ce vin est très bon. (= il est délicieux, savoureux) This wine is good.
Ma voiture roule bien. (= de manière satisfaisante, correcte) My car runs well.
We use bon (feminine bonne) with nouns and the verbs être, sembler, paraître, avoir l’air. We use bien with verbs.
J’ai mangé de bons fruits. I ate some good fruit. (bons qualifies fruits) / J’aime bien manger des fruits. I really like eating fruit (bien qualifies aimer)
Muriel est bonne en français. Muriel is good at French (bonne qualifies Muriel) / Muriel parle bien français. Muriel speaks French well (bien qualifies parler)
We use bon in the expressions faire bon (to be nice/sunny) and sentir bon (to smell good).
Il fait bon aujourd’hui It’s nice/sunny today
Tu sens bon ! You smell good!
Pro tips:
•  Sometimes we can use bon or bien in the same sentence. The meaning changes slightly:
Ce restaurant est très bon. The restaurant is good (=the food is good)
Ce restaurant est très bien. The restaurant is nice (= everything about the restaurant is good)
•  C’est bon and C’est bien have different meanings:
C’est bon, tu as gagné, je t’emmène au restaurant. Ok, you win, I’ll take you to the restaurant. (c’est bon = it’s agreed)
C’est bon maintenant ! Laissez-moi dormir ! Alright, that’s enough! Let me sleep! (c’est bon = that’s enough)
C’est bien ! Tu as tout compris. That’s great! You figured it out. (c’est bien = bravo)

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