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  1. #11
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    In English "how?" can have two meanings: 1. "in what manner?" and 2. "what is the state of?"
    'How' has rather more than two meanings: how - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education

    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?
    To many speakers of BrE,especially older ones, 'I am good' is still not a natural answer to the question 'How are you?' That does not make in necessarily ungrammatical.

    "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...?". I would find that a very strange question. However, I suspect that many other native speakers might find it acceptable in the interpretation you suggest.

    How would you interpret this question: "is your dog good?" asked by a guest? Would you answer:
    "Oh, no worries, it won't bite 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?
    For me, only the first interpretation works, but I am an older speaker of BrE.
    5

  2. #12
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Please bear with me a little longer on this.

    Is there any reason, other than tradition or habit, for why many native speakers (particularly older ones) avoid "good" as an answer to the common question "How are you?" ?

    I was hoping that perhaps "good" does not belong alongside "well" and "fine" because its application would lead to confusion or ambiguity (as explained in my previous post), but clearly failed to drum up much enthusiasm or following with my lame arguments .

  3. #13
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    5

    'How' has rather more than two meanings: how - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education
    I was vaguely aware of "how" having more than just two meanings. When I said it had only two, I meant the two which are of importance to this discussion.

    Still, thank you for the useful link and feedback.

  4. #14
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    Is there any reason, other than tradition or habit, for why many native speakers (particularly older ones) avoid "good" as an answer to the common question "How are you?" ?.
    It's simply that the adjective 'well' has had, as one of its meanings, 'in good health'; The adjective 'good' has not had that meaning.

  5. #15
    JarekSteliga is offline Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    I believe there exists another common expression similar to "how are you?" in that it functions as a greeting but different in that it enquires after how the asked person manages their affairs as opposed to how that person's health etc. is.

    The expression I am making a reference to is "how are you doing?".

    Would or should this question be answered with an adverb?

  6. #16
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    I believe there exists another common expression similar to "how are you?" in that it functions as a greeting but different in that it enquires after how the asked person manages their affairs as opposed to how that person's health etc. is.

    The expression I am making a reference to is "how are you doing?".

    Would or should this question be answered with an adverb?
    "How are you doing?" is a common question even though technically it makes no grammatical sense. I have one friend who always replies to that question with "How am I doing what?"

    As with the rest of this thread, the answer is that you will hear "I'm doing good" a lot but the answer should be in the form of an adverb. "I'm doing well, thank you" which means the same as "I am well" but uses the same form as the question using "doing".

  7. #17
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Just another thought, as people are coming from different angles and philosophies on this thread.

    He's a good runner. He runs well.

    Fine. We can all see that 'good' is an adjective here, and 'well' is an adverb.

    But in greetings, 'good' is clearly used as an adverb by many people.

    How are you? -- Good, thanks.

    I feel sure this has always been a possibility in English. In fact, "I am well thanks" is far less common here in North America, and sounds like an effort to be formal or even 'posh' as the Brits say -- it's almost unnatural between friends, at least on this continent of 300 million English speakers.

    But I feel no qualms about it.

    Wie gehts? Gut, danke.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Just another thought, as people are coming from different angles and philosophies on this thread.

    He's a good runner. He runs well.

    Fine. We can all see that 'good' is an adjective here, and 'well' is an adverb.

    But in greetings, 'good' is clearly used as an adverb by many people.

    How are you? -- Good, thanks.

    I feel sure this has always been a possibility in English. In fact, "I am well thanks" is far less common here in North America, and sounds like an effort to be formal or even 'posh' as the Brits say -- it's almost unnatural between friends, at least on this continent of 300 million English speakers.

    But I feel no qualms about it.

    Wie gehts? Gut, danke.
    In Irish English "good" is used in that way too. It's a direct translation from the Gaelic "Ta me go maith" "I am good". But I think "well" is still more common in BrE.
    (I am having problems cutting and pasting on the site at the moment, so I apologise for the lack of accents on the "a" in "ta" and the "e" in "me".)

  9. #19
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    In Irish English "good" is used in that way too. It's a direct translation from the Gaelic "Ta me go maith" "I am good". But I think "well" is still more common in BrE.
    (I am having problems cutting and pasting on the site at the moment, so I apologise for the lack of accents on the "a" in "ta" and the "e" in "me".)
    Well the Irish are better at Latin than the Romans, so it wouldn't surprise me if they were also better at English than the Brits.

  10. #20
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "I am good" or "I am well" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JarekSteliga View Post
    "Is your wife good?" sounds to me as "Does your wife have a good heart?" (figuratively, not medically).
    ...
    How would you interpret this question: "is your dog good?" asked by a guest? Would you answer:
    ...
    Is this ambiguity likely to take place in reality or is it only the product of my imagination?
    [not a teacher]

    Without context, it is ambiguous to me. If pressed, I would guess that a “dog that’s good” doesn’t bite, and a “wife that’s good” is healthy ( and not the other way ‘round ).

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