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  1. #1
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    As an answer to "How are you" I expect an adverb, rather than adjective.

    Is "good" both adjective and adverb?

    If I remember correctly, in my native grammar words used to answer the question "how?" are adverbs and words used in answer to "what like?" are adjectives.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    As an answer to "How are you" I expect an adverb, rather than adjective.

    Is "good" both adjective and adverb?

    If I remember correctly, in my native grammar words used to answer the question "how?" are adverbs and words used in answer to "what like?" are adjectives.
    "I'm good" seems to have snuck its way into BrE over the last few years. You're quite right, though, that the "proper" reply is something like "I'm [very] well, thank you" or "I'm fine, thanks". You will hear "I'm good" a lot but I wouldn't recommend using it in a formal situation.

    In answer to your question, "good" is not an adverb.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    For me "I'm good" is a fixed pharse meaning "I feel fine / I'm fine" - of course in this context.

    I don't know what native speakers think about "good" as an adverb. (edit: Now I do, read post above mine)
    I've read in the dictionary that many of them thinks that it's incorrect English - Longman Dictionary

    Sometimes it's hard for us, non-native speakers, to think as an English would think.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "I'm good" seems to have snuck its way into BrE over the last few years. You're quite right, though, that the "proper" reply is something like "I'm [very] well, thank you" or "I'm fine, thanks". You will hear "I'm good" a lot but I wouldn't recommend using it in a formal situation.

    In answer to your question, "good" is not an adverb.
    I've got a suspicion it was always a part of English. Just look at the Germanic languages, where the cognate is always used as either adjective or adverb in such phrases.

  5. #5
    TheParser is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    As an answer to "How are you" I expect an adverb, rather than adjective.


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Mr. Steliga,


    (1) I most respectfully do not understand why you expect an adverb after "How

    are you?"

    (a) I may be wrong (of course!), but doesn't "How are you?" often mean "How are

    you feeling?" ?

    (i) Tom has just had an operation, or Tom has just been divorced. If you ask "How

    are you?" many Americans would, indeed, answer: "I'm good." "Good" is an adjectiive

    that refers to "I."

    (ii) May I most respectfully remind you that if someone answers "I'm well," s/he is

    still using an adjective. "Well" is both an adverb ("You speak English well") and

    an adjective ("All is well").

  6. #6
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Mr. Steliga,


    (1) I most respectfully do not understand why you expect an adverb after "How

    are you?"

    (a) I may be wrong (of course!), but doesn't "How are you?" often mean "How are

    you feeling?" ?

    (i) Tom has just had an operation, or Tom has just been divorced. If you ask "How

    are you?" many Americans would, indeed, answer: "I'm good." "Good" is an adjectiive

    that refers to "I."

    (ii) May I most respectfully remind you that if someone answers "I'm well," s/he is

    still using an adjective. "Well" is both an adverb ("You speak English well") and

    an adjective ("All is well").
    The whole issue may be down to a profound difference of perception.

    For me "I am good" is a correct answer to this question: "Are you good or bad (man)". Another example may be this: "Are you quick or slow", "I am slow"

    On the other hand questions like:

    "How should I deal with this?" may be answered with an adverb "promptly" (not "prompt")
    "How did she look at him?" may be answered with and adverb "angrily" (not "angry")
    "How are you feeling?" I see as no different from "How are you driving?" which I suppose requires an adverb to answer, e.g. "carefully"

    Hence, by analogy I expect questions beginning with "how" to be answered with the use of adverbs.

    When the question "How are you" is answered with "I am fine/well" I consider both 'fine" and "well" as adverbs.


    In "all is (what like?) well that ends (how?) well" I see (feel) the first "well" as an adjective and the other as an adverb.



    Will you have the patience to look at these arguments and help me understand the error of my ways?

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    When 'how?' means 'in 'what manner?', it is answered with an adverb. 'How?' can have other meanings:

    The question, "How are you?" is enquiring about the state of your health and or feelings. It is answered with 'I am + adjective' - I am well (=in good health), ill, sick, happy, depressed, etc'.

    'How was the exam?' means 'What was the exam like?' Answers might be: 'It was easy, difficult, terrible, etc'.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  8. #8
    TheParser is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post

    When the question "How are you" is answered with "I am fine/well" I consider both 'fine" and "well" as adverbs.


    In "all is (what like?) well that ends (how?) well" I see (feel) the first "well" as an adjective and the other as an adverb.



    Will you have the patience to look at these arguments and help me understand the error of my ways?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Mr. Steliga,


    (1) First, thank you for helping me understand the errors of my ways!

    (2) You consider "fine" and "well" as adverbs in "I am ____." Well, that is

    very interesting. As I said, I think most (all?) teachers would consider them to

    be adjectives. For example, in some languages people just say "I fine." They

    do not need a so-called linking verb. Hopefully, a grammar expert will give us

    his/her opinion on your opinion.

    (a) Even in "I am doing well," I think that "well" is an adjective, for "doing" in that

    sentence, I think, is just another word for "feeling." I think it is very different from

    "I am doing the work well." The "well" in that sentence is surely an adverb, telling

    how I am doing the work.

    (b) Here is an absurd example: I broke all my fingers last year. But now my fingers

    are all healed. So I am able to feel things well. ("Well" is an adverb that tells you how

    I feel things with my fingers.) Surely, that is very different from "I am feeling/am well."

    (3) In "All is well that ends well," I agree with you: the first "well" is an adjectiive, and

    the second one is an adverb.

    Tom: How did it end?

    Mona: It ended well/ happily/ sadly/ tragically/ badly.

    (But it would not surprise me if someone argued for analyzing the second "well" as an adjective.)

    Let's see what other posters have to say.

  9. #9
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I've got a suspicion it was always a part of English. Just look at the Germanic languages, where the cognate is always used as either adjective or adverb in such phrases.
    It could be, but in BrE it has become far more common in recent years and was imported from AmE.

  10. #10
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    When 'how?' means 'in 'what manner?', it is answered with an adverb. 'How?' can have other meanings:

    The question, "How are you?" is enquiring about the state of your health and or feelings. It is answered with 'I am + adjective' - I am well (=in good health), ill, sick, happy, depressed, etc'.

    'How was the exam?' means 'What was the exam like?' Answers might be: 'It was easy, difficult, terrible, etc'.
    And thanks to your post it is beginning to dawn on me where the shoe pinches.

    In English "how?" can have two meanings: 1. "in what manner?" and 2. "what is the state of?"

    My difficulty in embracing this stems from the fact that in my language "how?" is exclusively endowed with that "in what manner?" meaning (please let the Polish members of this forum either correct me or back me up here) and I suppose one is tempted to interpolate one's native rules to those of other languages.

    1. How are things? (what is the state of things?). Things are marvellous.

    2. How do things go? (In what manner do things develop/progress?). Things go
    marvellously.


    Is then the title of this thread quite beside or irrelevant to its "entrails' as it only addresses the issue of which particular words it is customary or common to use in a given situation rather than (as I meant it) the issue of the adjective "good" being used ungrammatically?

    I have been brought around to believe (and to feel) that no grammatical error is made in this expression: "I am good".

    What is bugging me still is this.

    "Is your wife good?" sounds to me as "Does your wife have a good heart?" (figuratively, not medically).

    Now, were we to employ the meaning of "good" discussed in this thread, the question "is your wife good?" could be interpreted as "what is the state of your wife's health or mood or...?".

    How would you interpret this question: "is your dog good?" asked by a guest? Would you answer:

    "Oh, no worries, it won't bit you".

    or

    "Yes, it is fine, maybe a bit underweight".


    Is this ambiguity likely to take place in reality or is it only the product of my imagination?

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