ChanteSez … Get clear about when to use ‘ambiguous’

Monday’s “Jeopardy!” show gave me the inspiration for today’s ChanteSez.

People often get “ambiguous” and “ambivalent” confused.

  • Ambiguous = unclear, something that could have a couple different meanings
  • Ambivalence = contradictory feelings, something that could go either way

Depending on the situation, you could have a “big” misunderstanding if something is ambiguous.

And sometimes, there are no two ways about a situation. Here’s an example:

Although she had remarried, the way she smiled at her ex-husband was ambiguous. Her current husband didn’t hold any ambivalence. He didn’t like it one bit.

Use “big” as your memory aid to know which word to use.

Recap: Art Beats + Lyrics, Compound, Friday, Sept. 14

Sometimes actions speak for themselves. In a room full of people talking, more can be said through gesture than words. With art to back them up, the signals at the eighth annual Gentleman Jack Art Beats + Lyrics last Friday were at once wild, thought-provoking, sexy and simply fun.


For more photos from Art Beats + Lyrics, check out Carlos Bell’s Facebook album.

One of the best things about AB+L is seeing city slick Compound turned into an outpost for culture seekers and sanity savers. Events like AB+L make me feel good. And founders Jabari Graham and Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright do it well. Just thinking about how much preparation must have gone into the installation earns respect. And thinking about how I ran into them at Octane on the Westside back in June, planning. But also knowing that these two have perfected the process, enabling them to take the multimedia extravaganza from Atlanta to cities such as Charlotte, D.C., Houston, Miami and St. Louis over the last four years.


The text got you in, but the cards were intentional, passing from one hand to the next in anticipation of hearing Shock G say, “the one who put the satin on your panties,” and watching everyone nearby say the same.

That’s when we walked in. Or shortly before. Enough time to order and sip one of my first $8 Jack & Cokes. That’s part of the price you pay for sweetly skipping the line where we’d have received drink tickets. According to Jabari, there were probably 800 or so who ended up on queue, while another 4,000 total made it inside.


I am thankful for Art Beats + Lyrics because I am at once entertained and exposed. Comfortable and just the right amount of nervous. Crunk and completely uncertain of what I will hear or who I will meet next. In all ways, it is nice.

Especially with DJs such as House in the Park’s Ramon Rawsoul and WRFG’s Tabone taking charge. How “The Soul Chamber” host went from house music to trap boy anthems before I stopped dancing long enough to notice, I don’t know. Once I did, I couldn’t help but share my praise with a friend, pause for enjoyment, and keep dancing.


I sometimes wish more Atlanta gatherings had the AB+L vibe. Yes, I love days like this. But these kinds of nights are way cooler.

ChanteSez … Doing well, part 2

It seems that the last ChanteSez strayed a bit too far in the general advice lane.

Here’s more instruction on the difference between “well” and “good” in a grammatical sense.

“Well” is an adverb in the phrase “I am doing well.” It is modifying the action in this sentence, the “doing.”

That is the job of adverbs: to describe the verb. Adverbs typically answer how, when, or where.

Just about any word that ends in “ly” is an adverb. That’s why I suggested last week that the opposite of someone doing well would be someone doing poorly, or badly.

Other examples of “ly” adverbs:

  • She happily sang the song.
  • He dressed handsomely.
  • People who talk righteously often have deep flaws.

The thing that can be a little confusing is that “good” can be used as an adverb. While it may not sound “proper,” it is commonly acceptable for “good” to be used when saying “I am doing good,” especially in informal situations.

But to be safe, ChanteSez keep “good” as an adjective, and leave “well” enough alone.

  • She did a good job balancing work and leisure.
  • Those are good margaritas!
  • Cloudeater is a really good band.

ChanteSez … Are you doing well, or good?

Once upon a time, “well” and “good” were not to be used interchangeably.

Particularly when answering the question above, “good” could be used to indicate virtue. Think of it like a short way of saying “good deeds” or “good things.”

“Well” more often referred to your well-being. If you weren’t doing well, perhaps you were doing poorly, or just OK.

The rules are looser these days, but one often sounds better than the other.

My advice is to take it back to primary school: When in doubt, sound it out. In other words, try each word in the sentence, and see which sounds better.

A few examples:

  • “The bartender made the martinis so well.” In this case, “well” is an adverb describing the action — the making, or the degree to which the bartender was successful in making the drinks. You could argue that “good” sounds OK here, but I prefer the traditional word choice.
  • “These are good martinis!” Here, we are describing the taste of the drinks, not anyone’s ability to make them. We’re using “good” as an adjective. “Well” would not work in this case.
  • “Things are going good.” I’m 50/50 on this one. Both “good” and “well” work here. ChanteSez this is a matter of formality, the difference between talking among friends (“good”), and talking to your boss (“well”).

ChanteSez … Everything in due time

We often use the phrases “due to” and “because of” interchangeably.

But “due to” means “caused by.” With that in mind, be careful to use the phrase appropriately.

A few examples:

  • Her limp was due to a recent car accident.
  • She had a cough due to the flu.
  • Because of his friendly nature, he found it easy to meet new people.
  • His good grades were because of uninterrupted daily study.