Otherwise, good luck patterns of use associated with good in teacher feedback

Christine BURNS, Svetlana CHIGAEVA-HEDDAD, Maggie LEUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This paper presents a corpus-based study of the use of the evaluative adjective good in teacher written feedback. It examines the use of good in recurrent patterns related to lexical choice, syntax and discourse functions. Our findings suggest that the use of good is highly formulaic, and is often part of praise, encouragement and suggestions. When used as part of formulaic praise, good seems to perform the following functions: establishing solidarity with student writers, acknowledging face threats potentially posed by feedback, mitigating criticism and advice, and organizing discourse. When used in this way, comments containing good appear to carry minimal instructional value. Instead, the underlying meaning of good in such expressions appears to be intention to assess. When used in non-formulaic structures, good helps teachers to perform an academic gatekeeping role by introducing preferred academic practices and text features. Based on the analysis, we conclude that caution must be taken to balance formulaic use of language with specific comments in teacher feedback.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-315
Number of pages23
JournalAsian EFL Journal
Issue number3.4
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Corpus-based
  • Feedback
  • Feedback as genre
  • Formulaic language


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