prescriptivism, conventions, irony, and could(n't) care less

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jan 31 18:01:10 UTC 2001

>>... I often hear "I am well"
>>in response to "How are you?
>I increasingly hear "I'm well" as well, meaning (presumably) "Everything's

It seems to me that "How are you [doing]?" is a formalized inquiry
regarding one's health (could be prosperity, "financial health", etc.) and
not one's inherent quality or moral condition. It seems to me that "I am
[doing] well" is simply an exactly correct (not hypercorrect) response,
although "I am [doing] fine" is more conventional. The usual Pittsburgh
answer -- which was a minority usage in other places where I've resided --
is "I am [doing] good", which strikes me as inapposite/erroneous, since the
question is basically "Are you [doing] well or poorly/ill?" rather than
"Are you good or evil/bad?" or "Are you performing good or evil acts?" ....

What do other folks perceive?

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list