Greeting - How are you? I'm good

alc112

Senior Member
Argentina Spanish
Hi!!
When I asked an englishspeaker how he/she is, the answer I always get is I'm good. i was taught to say I'm fine.
My doubt is if The teachers teach any thing or is other way to say I'm fine.
Are fine and good synonyms?
Which is more common?
Are there other ways to soy I'm fine? I mean other ways more informal
Thank you
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    alc112 said:
    Hi!!
    When I asked an englishspeaker how he/she is, the answer I always get is I'm good. i was taught to say I'm fine.
    My doubt is if The teachers teach any thing or is other way to say I'm fine.
    Are fine and good synonyms?
    Which is more common?
    Are there other ways to soy I'm fine? I mean other ways more informal
    Thank you
    I think "good" here is more US than UK (although you do hear it here too). To my mind "good" is wrong because it is an adjective, and you don't really mean "I am good" eg "I am a good person" but rather "I am well" or "I am fine", so you need an adverb.

    I think that this US usage is really extending the adjective "good" and making it into an adverb (since I´m sure that everyone is not walking around suggesting that they are little angels:) )
     

    Antonio

    Senior Member
    Mexico/Spanish
    If you are in good mood you can say the following phrases:

    I’m good
    I’m fine
    I’m cool
    Not bad
    I’m all right
    pretty good
    good
    Lots

    If you are not feeling so good you can say:

    I’m feeling down
    Not so good

    If nothing is new in your life you can say:

    Same as usual
    Same old (Nothing new)
    Nothing special
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    alc112 said:
    Hi!!
    When I asked an englishspeaker how he/she is, the answer I always get is I'm good. i was taught to say I'm fine.
    My doubt is if The teachers teach any thing or is other way to say I'm fine.
    Are fine and good synonyms?
    Which is more common?
    Are there other ways to soy I'm fine? I mean other ways more informal
    Thank you
    The grammatically correct word is "well". The most common word is "good".
    Antonio has given some good examples of how we answer informally. I'm not sure what he means by "lots". I have no idea where that came from. Maybe he meant that there are lots of ways to say it.

    Some more informal answers could be:

    I'm A-okay.
    I'm peachy.
    I'm hangin'.
    I'm doin' good, (fine).

    Any more?
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    "I'm good" is a relatively recent (emphasis on relatively) effort to be more creative, more road-less-traveled in all things, and should be considered as an idiomatic expression rather than a grammatically correct sentence. IMHO, of course.
     

    ojyram

    Senior Member
    USA English (Learning Spanish)
    I've just realized----"How are you" when asked by a friend means "How is your life?" In that case, adjectives are correct, as in "my life is good, my life is great, my life is wonderful."
     

    ojyram

    Senior Member
    USA English (Learning Spanish)
    In answer to ALC112's question about formal/informal"

    In very formal situations I would only say:
    Fine, thank you. And you?
    I'm just fine. How are you?
    You say this even if you feel terrible, because this is not an exchange of information, it is just a polite exchange of pleasant words.

    In business relationships any positive response is usually expected.
    I usually say
    Great, how about you?"
    Super, how about you?"

    With friends you can give a truthful response if you want to start a conversation:
    Terrible, nothing's going right.
    Couldn't get any better. I just got a new job.
    So, so. I'm still trying to get Jim to go out with me.
    Then ask, "What's up with you?" or "How about you?"
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    To my mind "good" is wrong because it is an adjective,
    "Good" is not wrong because it is an adjective. What is needed to complete "I am ____" is indeed an adjective (which would then function as a "predicate adjective"), and to put an adverb there would be incorrect. If "good" is incorrect, it is incorrect not because it is an adjective, but because it is the wrong adjective.

    "Well", which can be used here, is not an adverb, but instead is an adjective meaning "in good health". It is the oldest and most formal word to use in this context.

    "Fine" (which is also an adjective) is here used as a contracted form of "in fine health" or "in fine spirits". Considered literally from their standard and traditional meanings, "fine" and "good" are equally correct (or incorrect) here. One may find "fine" accepted and "good" rejected not because of the literal meanings of the words, but because one hears "fine" mroe often.
     

    ayupshiplad

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    "Fine" (which is also an adjective) is here used as a contracted form of "in fine health" or "in fine spirits". Considered literally from their standard and traditional meanings, "fine" and "good" are equally correct (or incorrect) here. One may find "fine" accepted and "good" rejected not because of the literal meanings of the words, but because one hears "fine" mroe often.
    Fine is both an adjective and an adverb, and that is why it is accepted as correct, not because fine is heard more often than good and is hence accepted. I used to think it was just an adjective as well, but then I checked the dictionary!

    I have always been taught never to say 'I am good'. In fact, about a month ago a girl in my Latin class had responded 'I am good, thank you' when our wonderfully pedantic teacher asked her how she was. When I came into the class, he asked me the same question to which I replied 'I am fine, thank you'. He then said to me "Oh, I am so glad that you did not use that word 'good'" to which I said in total horror "Sir, what do you take me for?!"

    Quite simply, I would think good is unaccepted by pedants on both sides of the Atlantic, but it is perhaps more widely accepted in the US simply because it is more frequently used (although that is a bit of a guess ;))
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "Good" is not wrong because it is an adjective. What is needed to complete "I am ____" is indeed an adjective (which would then function as a "predicate adjective"), and to put an adverb there would be incorrect.
    Wow, what an old thread. I don't remember posting that, but I'd better defend my position anyway:D.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the above but it is simply a different, and abstract (as is mine), way of analysing the grammar.

    In my analysis above "to be" can take an adjective or an adverb. In "to be well" "to be" is not being used as a copular verb (as it is in most instances) but has a stronger force of meaning of "to exist". Adverbs are suitable in this case because they show manner. "Quickly", for example, could be rephrased "in a quick way". If you are well you are "in a good way" or "well" (being the irregular adverb instead of "goodly"). You can't compare this to the copular usage which equates states where you would say "I am red" instead of "I am redly" because you are red you are not "in a red way".

    In my analysis of "I am good" "good" is being used as an adverb. There are a restricted number of adjectives that can do this (he runs fast for example) but in my usage "good" isn't one of these.

    One thing I would take issue with my two-year-younger self would be my phrasing of that post. It sounds quite prescriptive, and I doubt that's what I meant. Instead of To my mind "good" is wrong because it is an adjective
    today I would say In my usage "good" is wrong because it only acts as an adjective for me. I don't think there is anything wrong per se in using "good" as one of those adjectives which can function as an adverb just that I don't do it.

    I can see your way of analysing the structure too - and don't particularly disagree with it. For my way of thinking there is only "poorly" that I can think of that also acts this way. Your way of analysing the structure and saying, effectively if I've understood correctly, that "to be can only take an adjective and therefore "well" and "poorly" can be either adverbs or adjectives depending on the usage" is also valid. For my analysis you have to accept that "to be" can take adverbs or adjectives but "well" and "poorly" are only ever adverbs and for yours "to be" can only take adjectives and "well" and "poorly" can be either. In fact, since you can't say things such as "I am badly" but have to use the more archaic "poorly" I think I prefer yours since it is simpler - although I'm not sure it reflects as closely the function of these words in the sentence.;)
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Fine is both an adjective and an adverb, and that is why it is accepted as correct, not because fine is heard more often than good and is hence accepted. I used to think it was just an adjective as well, but then I checked the dictionary!
    The fact that fine may act as an adverb is irrelevant: in the sentence, the word needed is an adjective, not an adverb. Since what is wanted is an adjective, the question then becomes why the adjective "fine" is acceptable, but the adjective "good" is not.

    I have always been taught never to say 'I am good'.
    The question then becomes "why were you taught to say that?" The only reason I can come up with is that "I am good" suggests that one claims to be moral and virtuous, while "I am fine" does not.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have given up grumbling (publicly) about I'm good.
    Maybe it's wishful thinking - there is something reassuring to a father when his daughter says "I am good".
    I believe you; I believe you.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I can see your way of analysing the structure too - and don't particularly disagree with it.
    I don't see that there is anything with which to disagree in my statement.

    Consider these:
    I am rich.
    I am happy.
    I am famous.
    I am unattractive.
    I am graceful.
    I am cold.

    Each of those words is an adjective; none is an adverb. Each is functioning as a predicate adjective, and each modifies the subject of the sentence, not the verb.

    Now consider this: My aunt is not well, but my uncle is well.

    How reasonable is an argument that the words "not well" and "well" are functining here as adverbs modifying "is"? Does it really seem rational to think that this statement means that there is something inferior or flawed in the aunt's state of existence, but that the uncle has the process of existing down pat, and is existing properly? Doesn't it seem far more likely that what is being intended here is "my aunt is ill, but my uncle is in good health?" If the second meaning seems less strained and more natural, then one is led to conclude that "well" here is not being used as an adverb modifying "is", but is instead an adjective that modifies "aunt" and "uncle".

    Therefore, my point remains what it was: if "good" is incorrect, it is not incorrect because it is an adjective, but instead is incorrect because it is the wrong adjective.
     

    marquess

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Originally Posted by Antonio
    Jacinta:

    What do you mean by I'm hangin' I'm hanging (in there), is that what you mean?

    Yes, Antonio, that's the idea. It is the same as "I'm cool".
    Where I come from (S.West U.K.) ' I'm hanging' has almost the opposite meaning. It would be used the morning after being up all night, drinking too much, or both. Something like 'Only just hanging onto life/consciousness by a thread'. I've heard it used this way in Scotland too, so I think it's quite widespread.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Just suppose, for the sake of pleasing or tweaking a prescriptivist, that "How are you?"
    means to inquire how one is feeling. In other words, consider the possibility that it is
    shorthand for "How are you feeling?".

    Now change hats, and imagine it means to ask what condition one is in.
     

    ayupshiplad

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    The fact that fine may act as an adverb is irrelevant: in the sentence, the word needed is an adjective, not an adverb. Since what is wanted is an adjective, the question then becomes why the adjective "fine" is acceptable, but the adjective "good" is not.
    Sorry, I do not understand what you mean. Why on earth would the sentence 'I am good' be accepted as incorrect not just by your average native, but by pedants of grammar? Why is it constantly corrected if it is, in fact, correct? Surely if something as simple as this was constantly corrected by people of all ages in mass, it cannot be wrong? Surely someone would have corrected them along the way? I simply do not understand how something so basic can be said wrongly by millions of natives.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I don't see that there is anything with which to disagree in my statement.

    Consider these:
    I am rich.
    I am happy.
    I am famous.
    I am unattractive.
    I am graceful.
    I am cold.

    Each of those words is an adjective; none is an adverb. Each is functioning as a predicate adjective, and each modifies the subject of the sentence, not the verb.

    Now consider this: My aunt is not well, but my uncle is well.

    How reasonable is an argument that the words "not well" and "well" are functining here as adverbs modifying "is"? Does it really seem rational to think that this statement means that there is something inferior or flawed in the aunt's state of existence, but that the uncle has the process of existing down pat, and is existing properly? Doesn't it seem far more likely that what is being intended here is "my aunt is ill, but my uncle is in good health?"
    Both! If the aunt is less well than the uncle then yes she is existing in a less successful way and she is also more poorly - "ill" can also be an adverb (as can "in good health" - "he undertook the journey in good health".*

    I remain convinced that the roots of the usage of "I am well/poorly/ill" rest in their use as adverbs which is why I say that your analysis is not without question. It would seem very unlikely to me that all of these words talking about health should be words that can act as adverbs in other less contentious contexts. Your argument above listing those adjectives amounts to saying "in the overwhelming number of cases "to be" takes a clear adjective" - and I don't disagree with that and that is why I say that your way of analysing it is simpler. Ultimately language is not a science so there is not necessarily a correct answer to why the grammar works in a certain way. You can legitimately argue that "to be" can take adjectives or adverbs or argue that it takes adjectives only and that some words can act as either - it doesn't ultimately matter if it provides a rule which predicts the reality. As I say, I'm sure my way of doing that is truer to the origins but I agree that your way provides a simpler rule to describe the state of the language today. Indeed it is probably the fact that "to be" usually takes an adjective that "good" is being used instead of "well" by analogy.

    * Edit - Cuchuflete's example of "to be" meaning "to be feeling" is a better example than mine saying it is meaning "to exist" - but the point is the same "to be" is a much stronger verb in terms of it's own meaning than it is in "he is rich".
     

    marquess

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I was trying to avoid the main arguement because it gets a bit pedantic if you think too hard about it. I think I would understand perfectly if someone said 'I'm good' even though I wouldn't use it normally myself. My guess is that it became more common in AE before it started becoming more common in BE, because it still sounds a bit 'American' in origin to me. If I get more pedantic I dislike it slightly because it is ambiguous and requires us to assume the speaker means 'I am feeling good' rather than 'I am a good person'.

    Reflection on the 'correctness' of the answer leads me to look closer at the question. 'How are you?' is just an old stock phrase which somewhere along the line replaced the older stock phrase 'How do you do?'. The general idea is just to indicate (sincerely or otherwise) that you have some polite interest in the other person's well-being, as a follow up to 'Hello'. The point about such stock phrases is that they do start to sound just polite, formal, stale, and insincere with age, and people mess about with hundreds of variations and answers just to keep them fresh and apparently more meaningful. I think the tone and manner of these exchanges is all that matters really.
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    I believe this is addressed in dictionary.com:

    —Usage note Good is common as an adverb in informal speech[...] This use does not occur in formal speech or edited writing, where the adverb well is used instead[...] When used after look or feel, good may refer to spirits as well as health: I'm feeling pretty good this morning, ready to take on the world. Well is both an adjective and an adverb. As an adjective used after look, feel, or other linking verbs, it often refers to good health: You're looking well; we missed you while you were in the hospital.
     

    ayupshiplad

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    Reflection on the 'correctness' of the answer leads me to look closer at the question. 'How are you?' is just an old stock phrase which somewhere along the line replaced the older stock phrase 'How do you do?'
    I thought 'how are you?' was a contracted form of 'how are you doing?' to which you could not possibly answer: 'I am doing good.'
     

    IParleFrench

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    As someone who is well aware of the supposed rule against saying "I am good," I wholeheartedly agree with GreenWhiteBlue.

    His/her examples were great, but let me give multiple choices from which you can choose:

    Q: How are you?

    1) A: I am terrific
    2) A: I am terrifically

    I think that the anti-"I am good" crowd believes that an adverb is called for in the answer. Would they then suggest saying "I am terrifically" above? Of course not. "I am well" is using the word well as an adjective, and that is why "I am well" is grammatically correct, as is "I am good."

    However, "I am going good" is clearly wrong, as an adverb is called for there. I believe that this was the mistake that was originally warned against, and people probably incorrectly extended it to "I am good." Now people are coming up with convoluted explanations for why "I am [adverb]" is correct and "I am [adjective]" is wrong. To which I again ask, would you say, "I am terrifically?"
     
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    IParleFrench

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Why on earth would the sentence 'I am good' be accepted as incorrect not just by your average native, but by pedants of grammar? Why is it constantly corrected if it is, in fact, correct? Surely if something as simple as this was constantly corrected by people of all ages in mass, it cannot be wrong? Surely someone would have corrected them along the way? I simply do not understand how something so basic can be said wrongly by millions of natives.
    Because what the supposed pedants are arguing doesn't hold water. They claim that "I am well" is correct because an adverb is called for in the sentence. But if one inserts other adverbs in there (terrifically, fantastically, greatly), I think nearly everyone would agree that an adverb doesn't work there. "How are you?" "I am fantastically. How are you?" Ha! Is anyone bold enough to try to defend that usage?

    So why do "well" and "fine" work? Because they can be used as adjectives to mean "in good health." Other adjectives, like "good," "great," and slew of other adjectives work too.

    Can an anti-"I am good" pedant please provide a list of adverbs (beyond ones that are also adjectives--to do away with any ambiguity) that work in the response? I'll be waiting!
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The only time I use "I'm good" is in this sort of situation:

    Can I get you another beer [martini, virgin mary]?

    No thanks, I'm good.


    Otherwise it is:

    How are you?

    Fine, thank you.
     

    madhatters10

    New Member
    English (UK)
    Hey,
    As an English speaker from England, I would say:
    I'm cool,
    I'm good,
    Fine,
    Dandy,
    Five by five,
    Peachy with a side of daisies,
    Rosy cheeked and fat.

    In actual fact, most people don't say I'm fine or I'm good unless in formal situations.
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    On the one-o'clock radio news here in the UK one presenter always answers "I'm good" when asked "How are you" by an American speaker. To speakers of BE he says "I'm fine."

    All I can say is that this irritates me and grates on my ears. I assume (perhaps wrongly) that this is the normal reply in the US. The problem I have with "I'm good" is that there is no need to say it in the UK.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I have to admit that this is one of those rare usages that grates on my ears too.

    Whenever someone says to me I'm good rather than I'm fine, I always want to retort, "Hmm, well, I'll be the judge of that."
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Fine" (which is also an adjective) is here used as a contracted form of "in fine health" or "in fine spirits". Considered literally from their standard and traditional meanings, "fine" and "good" are equally correct (or incorrect) here. One may find "fine" accepted and "good" rejected not because of the literal meanings of the words, but because one hears "fine" more often.
    Hear, hear! (My emphasis in bold)
     

    Adge

    Senior Member
    USA- English (Southern)
    Oh yes you could.
    Well, perhaps you couldn't, and I couldn't either. But many, many others could - and do.
    My generic, no thought put into it at all, response to a "How are you?" is "I'mdoin'prettygoodhow'boutyou?" spoken all as one word, of course. :D I severely dislike "I'm good" but I have no problem at all with "I'm doing good." I realize it's incorrect, obviously, but in this part of the world "good" works as an adverb.

    Whenever I hear someone say "I'm good" I have an urge to let the giggly 13 year old out and respond with a "That's what she said." :eek:

    EDIT: EEEK! Thanks, Bloomiegirl. That's what I get for posting half-asleep...sentences that don't say what I want them to. I appreciate your pointing it out.
     
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    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Just the other day I had an appointment with my dentist and we had this conversation:

    Dr. De Sade: How's everything?

    Packard: 'How's everything?' That covers a lot of ground. Can you be more specific?

    Dr. De Sade: Yes, and so it does. So let's try, 'How are you feeling?'

    Packard: Been feeling fine; I might modify that statement after you're done however.

    Dr. De Sade: Yes, of course.

    The question, "How are you" is too vague to be answered reasonably, and so it requires a vague answer. "I'm fine" is sufficiently vague and does not encourage any further dialogue. If you wish to encourage some further discussion, then "Mostly fine" does nicely.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think it's sometimes viewed as a taboo to say something other than the vague "expected*" answer because it puts the other person in an uncomfortable position about whether more conversation (that they probably don't want to engage in anyway) is being expected.

    Therefore, something other than "I'm fine" (which I could be the judge of just as easily as "I'm good") now "grates" because it's simply not what we're used to: it has nothing to do with language issues like adverbs and adjectives.

    *I think it's the same issue as when I sometimes get strange reactions when wishing someone a "Happy Christmas" - when they are expecting the stock phrase "Merry Christmas"...lighter gray because it should be its own thread:D
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    My generic, no thought put into it at all, response to a "How are you?" is "I'mdoin'prettygoodhow'boutyou?" spoken all as one word, of course. :D I severely dislike "I'm good" but I have no problem at all with "I'm doing good." I realize it's incorrect, obviously, but in this part of the world "good" works as an adjective. :warn: [...]
    "Good" works as an adjective in all parts of the English-speaking world, but in this instance it is used as an adverb. Such usage is documented in some dictionaries – for instance in the Random House Dictionary [-adverb #49 Informal. well], which also contains a usage note:
    GOOD is common as an adverb in informal speech, especially after forms of do: He did good on the test. She sees good with her new glasses. This use does not occur in formal speech or edited writing, where the adverb WELL is used instead: He did well on the test. She sees well with her new glasses.

    BTW, my own preference would be "I'm good" over "I'm doing good," though my usual stock response is "I'm fine."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just to reiterate ...
    The response "I'm good," is still as the standard response among the younger members of my family of all generations.
    It's never been mine.
     

    Raftery

    Member
    English - Ireland
    It is clear that GreenWhiteBlue's argument is not logically rigorous.

    The key (alluded to by ayupshiplad) is in the question, although I don't agree with him (or her?) that "how are you?" is a shortening of "how are you doing?" When you ask "how", the answer is necessarily adverbial. "How" asks about the manner of an action, not the characteristics of the actor. To transpose the question onto another verb: "how do you eat?" should not be answered with "I eat careful", but rather "I eat carefully".

    In this case, the action is "being", and the manner is "well" (in the sense of "normally, desirably, effectively"). GreenWhiteBlue's attempt to equate "wellbeing" (note that the nounal form takes the adverb as well) with "moral, proper existence" is futile.

    In answer to the original question, I would normally answer "how are you?" with "well, and you?". I can't imagine many of my peers doing so, but it's definitely acceptable.
     

    Happy Gal

    New Member
    english
    Someone suggested using the response "hanging in there," as an answer to "how are you." I got a hand slap from a new employer for responding this way. This person calls me many times a day and always, starts the conversation out with "how are you." To break up the montony, I replied several times with "hanging in there." Won't bore you too much with the details of the hand slap, but had to listen to a lecture on how everyday this person starts their day with asking themself "what kind of great day is this going to be?" Pretty much was acussed of being a negative person - I'm not! My tone was not negative either. So, I guess use this response with caution??
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It is clear that GreenWhiteBlue's argument is not logically rigorous.
    It is clear that I missed this absurd claim back in December when it was made, otherwise I would have responsed then.

    The key (alluded to by ayupshiplad) is in the question, although I don't agree with him (or her?) that "how are you?" is a shortening of "how are you doing?" When you ask "how", the answer is necessarily adverbial.
    Nonsense. Consider these conversations:

    Tim: How is the water in the pool? Tom: It's cold, but refreshing
    Wife: How is dinner? Husband: It is absolutely delicious!
    Sue: How was the movie? Laura: It was dreadful; I hated it.
    Bill: How was your vacation? Sam: It was fantastic!
    Ozzie: How was my singing? Sharon: Lousy, as usual, but still entertaining.


    So much for the claim that "When you ask 'how', the answer is necessarily adverbial"; it is very clear that the answer is not necessarily adverbial at all.

    "How" asks about the manner of an action, not the characteristics of the actor. To transpose the question onto another verb: "how do you eat?" should not be answered with "I eat careful", but rather "I eat carefully".
    Except that predicate verbs are not 'actions'.
    Consider the word "smell"; it can be used both as a verb of action (as in Mary smelled the roses) and as a predicate verb of being (as in the perfume smells like roses.) As a verb of action, "smell" is modified by an adverb: After being stung by a bee one time, Mary now always smells roses cautiously. As a predicate verb of being, though, smell takes a predicate adjective, the same way other verbs of being take predicate adjectives: The soup smells delicious.

    In this case, the action is "being", and the manner is "well" (in the sense of "normally, desirably, effectively"). GreenWhiteBlue's attempt to equate "wellbeing" (note that the nounal form takes the adverb as well) with "moral, proper existence" is futile.
    I never tried to equate anything of the kind. Furthermore, the complete unfamiliarity with the existence of of predicate adjectives
    demonstrated by this fatuous argument is truly unfortunate.


    In answer to the original question, I would normally answer "how are you?" with "well, and you?". I can't imagine many of my peers doing so, but it's definitely acceptable.
    It is indeed acceptable -- and the reason it is acceptable is that when you do so, you are using "well" as an adjective rather than as an adverb.
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Someone suggested using the response "hanging in there," as an answer to "how are you." I got a hand slap from a new employer for responding this way. This person calls me many times a day and always, starts the conversation out with "how are you." To break up the montony, I replied several times with "hanging in there." Won't bore you too much with the details of the hand slap, but had to listen to a lecture on how everyday this person starts their day with asking themself "what kind of great day is this going to be?" Pretty much was acussed of being a negative person - I'm not! My tone was not negative either. So, I guess use this response with caution??
    Welcome to the forum Happy Gal.

    I applaud your efforts to break the monotony of such a gratuitous habit.

    ... but I'm retired and don't have any boss, much less one with an ego I have to massage.

    My usual response is "Better than nothing, according to my wife" or "normally not fit for polite company."
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    Wow, this thread is still going>

    Short version:
    From the BBC’s idiotic list of “Americanisms”:
    16. “I’m good” for “I’m well”. That’ll do for a start.
    There is nothing wrong with “I’m good”
    [source]

    Long version:
    “I'm good” is what you're likely to hear in general conversation, but there are grammar nitpickers out there who will chide you if you say it. The wonderful news is that those nitpickers are wrong [...]
    [source]

    Both articles are interesting.

    @ Happy Gal: "I'm hanging in there," to my ear, sounds like you're barely getting on in the midst of a difficult situation. And I'm not at all sure that your boss should be hand-slapping you or even touching you physically. (Really.)
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    A couple of random thoughts on the various intertwined and scattered discussions in this and the thread linked above.

    Usage was brought up as an arbiter of what some people find "normal" versus "grating". As I commented before, I think folks become uncomfortable if you reply in any way outside their comfort zone! Similarly, it is is bizarre, in my optinion, for anyone to actually think someone is asking "Are you a good person or are you a bad person" when they say "How are you?" and use justify using that logic to complain about the reply "I'm good".

    The adverb verb thing is a red herring, as other have pointed out. "I am well" uses the adjective well, not an adverbial form of good. "I am fine" seems to be accepted by many (alrhough perhaps my present perusal of the threads misleads me on this) so we should be happy with "I am healthy". At least no-one has proposed "I am healthily" or "I am doing healthily" or "I am feeling heathily" :eek:.

    I don't think there is a unique interpretation that everyone agrees on concerning what the expression "How are you ......?" is a shortened form of, if it is even shortened at all. ..... feeling? ...... Doing? Or just .....? This variability in how people feel one should respond presumes that only one of these is "correct". However, it's a whole other thread if the questioner actually asks "How are you doing?"

    [/ramble]

    In any case, i'm fine with "I'm good" and with "i'm well and "I'm healthy" as well as the litany of avoidances of the standard (or possibly objectionable) responses, humorous, honest or otherwise.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A: "How much are your apples?"
    B: "2.50 a kilo."
    A: "2.50!!!! That one's bad!"
    B: "The rest are good. Do you want a kilo?"
    A: "No, I'm good."

    good = fine
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Back on topic, and back when I got my O level English, we were taught that both fine and well (meaning in good health) are adjectives, just like they are in the response to "How are you?". Even today's GCSEs surely would not advocate"I am finely" or "I am healthily" which could mean "I exist well" (well there used as an adverb, as in "I swim well")? Adverbs are right out :)
     
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