“I’m good.”

Today’s post includes a vignette from three years ago, and then talks about one of the points in the vignette.  Because why not I tell a short story of nonfiction? It poses an interesting question at the end.

In the fall quarter of 2014, I was a TA for Vector Calculus, and Prof. Matkowsky was the professor with whom I worked, as well as one other TA, Paul.

I had previously TA’d once for Prof. Matkowsky, and he offered us food during grading periods and also to take us out for lunch. The first time, it was to the Cohen Commons in Tech.

In 2014 (and yes, since I journaled, the exact date was October 29…), after having done some exam grading, Prof. Matkowsky invited Paul and me to lunch, and we ate at the Noyes Street Cafe. I got a tasty salmon dish, and the lunch appointment was nice. We discussed art, how the class was going, and also joked about jaywalking.

At the end of lunch, when the server offered us dessert, I said, “I’m good.”

Prof. Matkowsky then mused, “That’s not really an answer to the question!”

And in thinking about it, he is one hundred percent correct.

Yet, it seems common for people to say, “No, I’m good” or “I’m fine” when they are asked if they would like dessert or something else. Thus, it seems that “I’m good/fine” almost doubles as a “no thank you” response. But, as Matkowsky said, it doesn’t really answer the question correctly.

It makes me wonder what other phrases are used colloquially for which everyone understands the implication, even when it doesn’t answer the question!

Or, I can start singing, with major apologies to Ringo Starr:

“I am good please, it only makes me sneeze! And then it makes it hard to find the door!”

[door closes]

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ראש השנה: 9 ימים

Green Bay/St. Norbert: 53 days

Minneapolis: 60 days

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2 thoughts on ““I’m good.”

  1. Noah,

    I often use the phrase, “I”m good”. Who knew I wasn’t answering the question correctly. I assume I should say, “No, thank you” to respond correctly, is that the right understanding here? English or grammar was my weakest link in school. I learned much later in life the proper way to express myself in writing. I don’t know the whys because that’s technical but I do know that I’ve learned by listening to what to I write (I read out loud what I write sometimes to work out the kinks) and if it sounds good then it probably is grammatically correct. Of course, I’ve picked up a lot of improvements from reading other blogs and even taking grammar corrections from Grammarly more seriously. It’s really interesting born and raised in the USA how I feel there is so much more to learn about the English language. I may not learn it all in my life but hopefully, I’ll continue to get better each day. Thanks for stopping by. It was really nice to see you again. Have an awesome week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The saying “No thank you” seems to be the understood meaning of “I’m good.”

      I enjoyed grammar in school, but reading comprehension (particularly inferential questions) was my weakness.

      Like

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