alas/well

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nicole110

Senior Member
chinese from Taiwan
Hi, all

Could you help me to figure it out? Which one is good in the below situation, alas or well? Thank you very much.

Recently, Nancy is ill and her situation is not good. Below is the conversation between her friend and her.

Her friend: How are things going on?

Nancy: Alas!/well. I’m not fine. I’m ill and feel feeble.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Alas" is no longer common in English. It died out around 1900 and remains only in rare literary phrases or expressing irony or sarcasm.

    As an introductory space-filler, "Well", is not quite idiomatic here: it is usually used to introduce a contrast, suggestion, or a surprise - and, in your example, what follows is none of those.

    "I'm not fine" is not idiomatic either. BE = "I'm not too good."

    "Feeble" is not idiomatic. Again, this use of the word died out about 100 years ago. Feeble is now mainly used to describe ineffectual or weak efforts or attempts to do something.

    "He made a feeble attempt to repair the television and then bought a new one."
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    You need to read the rest: I added to the answer and you were quick to reply. :)
     

    nicole110

    Senior Member
    chinese from Taiwan
    "Alas" is no longer common in English. It died out around 1900 and remains only in rare literary phrases or expressing irony or sarcasm.

    As an introductory space-filler, "Well", is not quite idiomatic here: it is usually used to introduce a contrast, suggestion, or a surprise - and, in your example, what follows is neither.

    So, what word do you think is the best to express her sigh?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I have now noticed "Her friend: How are things going on?" :cross: Her friend: How are things going on?:tick: Her friend: How are things going on? :tick:
    Nancy: Oh... not too good. I [still] don't feel very well and I seem to lack all energy.
     

    nicole110

    Senior Member
    chinese from Taiwan
    I have now noticed "Her friend: How are things going on?" :cross: Her friend: How are things going on?:tick: Her friend: How are things going on? :tick:
    Nancy: Oh... not too good. I [still] don't feel very well and I seem to lack all energy.
    Can "Ay" be suitable?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, I'd rather have "alas" than "ay" any day, but you could say "Not too good, I'm afraid."
    "I'm afraid" is formulaic and is not an indication of literal fear. Alternatives are "I'm sorry to say" and "unfortunately".
     

    nicole110

    Senior Member
    chinese from Taiwan
    No, I'd rather have "alas" than "ay" any day, but you could say "Not too good, I'm afraid."
    "I'm afraid" is formulaic and is not an indication of literal fear. Alternatives are "I'm sorry to say" and "unfortunately".
    ok. many thanks
     
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