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just fine/just OK

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Gabriel Malheiros, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. Gabriel Malheiros Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Hi, there

    Is there any difference between "just fine" and "just OK"? Do they mean "very good" or "only just good"?

    "You look just OK/fine".. Is there any difference?

    Thank you
     
  2. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    No difference for me.

    Just can mean merely if you stress the word. Otherwise 'just OK/fine' means 'very good'.
     
  3. Florentia52

    Florentia52 Modwoman in the attic

    Wisconsin
    English - United States
    In AE, they can be quite different. "You look just okay" often means "You look no better than average."

    As always, some context would help.
     
  4. Gabriel Malheiros Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    And "look just fine" would mean "look very good"? So the difference is not in the emphasis on "just", but between "fine" and "ok"?
     
  5. hjr.lm7mudia.hntati

    hjr.lm7mudia.hntati Senior Member

    south carolina
    english-USA
    In AE, I've never heard "just" and "ok" used together at all, like "you look just ok." That sounds really weird, but "You look just fine" is right, like if someone is worried about their appearance and you tell them "You look just fine. Don't worry about it" or "you did just fine on your exam." The emphasis is not really on the "just" because then that would mean you "only" did fine, but in these examples with the way they are used and the tone, it means the opposite...
    "You look just fine" = you look perfectly fine, nothing to worry about..
    like that


    < Edited to make the capitalization a little more regular. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2016
  6. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    I agree with hjr. I would not combine "just" with "OK", only with "fine".
    "Just fine" is a very guarded comment, designed to sound like perfectly OK, but often meaning "only adequate", and not really "very good". It has a hint of negativity about it, or rather a hint of "could do better".
     
  7. hjr.lm7mudia.hntati

    hjr.lm7mudia.hntati Senior Member

    south carolina
    english-USA
    I was having a hard time explaining "just ok."
    For me it sounds very natural and the meaning is obvious, but to someone learning English it would sound really weird and he wouldn't get the "perfectly fine" meaning since it appears to imply the opposite.
    But you explained it perfectly, took the words out of my mouth.



    < Edited to make the capitalization a little more regular. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2016
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I don't see that any of these alternatives can exist in a vacuum, devoid of facial expression, emphasis, etc.
     
  9. Gabriel Malheiros Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    But how can I tell if the person means "really good" or "barely good"? when they say just fine or just ok? For example, when I was watching a TV show called "Family Guy", one person said " just OK". He was jailed because he tweeted "Broad city is just ok". What does "just ok" mean here? Barely good or very good?
     
  10. hjr.lm7mudia.hntati

    hjr.lm7mudia.hntati Senior Member

    south carolina
    english-USA

    Anytime you hear "just fine" it's an emphasis for the level of fineness, "it's adequate, just right." I've never heard "just fine" used in a negative way. Its meaning is positive.

    Examples with JUST:

    "You baked it just right" > you didn't overbake it or underbake it, thus it came out "just right" you baked it perfectly.
    "You look just fine" > you don't look terrible, underdressed, but you don't look too flamboyant, overdressed, you look perfectly fine, nothing wrong or out of the ordinary about your appearance, clothing, etc.​

    As for the Family Guy example, not too sure. I'm not getting any search results for it either
    but it seems to me that in the example you stated, "Broad City is just ok" He's negatively using it to imply that broad city is "meh" , only average, mediocre, not all that.........
    <I don't know> if this picture helps or not, but the "just ok" is like "meh" whatever, not all that...


    < Edited to make the capitalization a little more regular. Text abbreviation written out in full. Cagey, moderator >



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2016
  11. hjr.lm7mudia.hntati

    hjr.lm7mudia.hntati Senior Member

    south carolina
    english-USA

    OH I do remember an example with the phrase "just ok." Well not really, it's more for "ok-looking" but for example, "He was just ok looking" doesn't have the positive reassuring meaning in "just fine" or "just right."
    Here it means, he was only ok looking, only average looking and nothing else. In this example you have the literal meaning of "just" being used...


    "It's just "OK"", just = merely/barely/only just....barely passing the standard of "ok/good"

    Again, just+ok sound really strange together. Never really hear it or come across it.



    < Edited to make the capitalization a little more regular. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2016

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