Ask an English Teacher: Good or Well?

If someone asks how I am, should I say I’m good or I’m well?

The answer depends on whether the person who asked really cares how you’re doing. If they’re only asking to be polite, the correct answer is, “Fine, thanks!” But if they really want to know, the correct answer is probably closer to, “To tell you the truth, I’m haunted by existential angst and the creeping suspicion that Soren Kierkegaard was right when he said that our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale not just in commerce but in the world of ideas, too — that everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wonder whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid.”

That wasn’t very helpful.

I tend not to be.

22 thoughts on “Ask an English Teacher: Good or Well?

  1. Ha! Love this answer, Marc! BTW, I actually studied Kierkegaard in a Philosophy of Religion course in the old “college days.” Not religious myself (cue Kierkegaard’s view on said…), then or now, I found him most fascinating! Liked his views on the matter…so your answer totally fits the question!!! ;-]

  2. When people ask how I’m doing, I often ask them if they really want to know. That usually makes them just uncomfortable enough to forget what they asked me and walk away.

    I can’t understand why people say I’m anti-social.

    Hilarious post, Mark! 😉

  3. I usually say pretty okay. If someone really cares a combo that merges pretty good and okay tends to stop the and make them follow up with me.

    If it’s just a social greeting, they feel they’ve done their duty and I feel I’ve been politely honest.

  4. If I may do my Alice-Cooper-lecturing-Wayne-and-Garth-on-the-origins-of- ‘Milwaukee’ thing, you, Marc, have been modelling what Malinowski might have called ‘phatic dyscommunion’ (‘phatic’ with a short ‘a’), phatic being one of my favourite words and usable in what the strange world of transferrable information theory would describe as the human equivalent of the noises that modems used to make, aka digital handshaking. A friend of mine told me he had an African Grey Parrot that could make this noise so accurately it would connect the computer to the internet – or is this complete b*******?

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