Difference between bon and bien in French

Bien vs Bon: Which One Should You Use?

Bon and bien in French are often confused, because they have somewhat similar meanings and they can both be adjectives, adverbs, or nouns. What is the difference between bon and bien in French?

Difference between bon and bien: bon is an adjective.

Bien is an adverb. It means goodmoralrighthealthy, etc., and can only be used as an adverb with state-of-being verbs such as être.

Here are some examples below to help you learn the difference between bien and bon.

  Il est bon étudiant.
He is a good student.
Il est bien comme étudiant.
He is a good student.
  J’ai passé une bonne soirée.
I had a nice evening.
Ça serait bien !
That would be good!
  Il a bon cœur.
He has a good/kind heart.
Très bien ! 
Very good!
  Ce timbre n’est pas bon.
This stamp is not valid.
Je suis bien partout.
I’m at ease anywhere.
  Luc est bon pour le service.
Luc is fit for (military) service.
Ce n’est pas bien de dire ça.
It’s not nice to say that.
 Je le trouve bien.
I think it’s nice.

Difference between bon and bien: bien is an adverb of manner

It means well or can be used to stress something. Bon, in the rare instances where it is used as an adverb (see adverbial adjectives), means good or pleasant.

   J’ai bien dormi.
I slept well.
Il fait bon ici.
It’s nice/pleasant here.
   Il se porte bien.
He is in good health.
Il fait bon vivre.
It’s good to be alive.
   Je vais bien, merci.
I am well, thank you.
Il est bon d’étudier.
It’s good to study.
   La radio ne marche pas bien.
The radio isn’t working right.
Ça sent bon !
That smells good!
   Je le vois bien souvent.
I see him quite often.
   J’ai bien dit ça.
I *did* say that.

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