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

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed Jan 31 18:11:52 UTC 2001

--On Wednesday, January 31, 2001 1:01 pm -0500 "Douglas G. Wilson"
<douglas at NB.NET> wrote:

>>> ... I often hear "I am well"
>>> in response to "How are you?
>> I increasingly hear "I'm well" as well, meaning (presumably)
>> "Everything's good/fine."
> 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. ...
> What do other folks perceive?

Well, since you asked, I agree completely.


M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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