Academics, “I am GOOD” not “I am WELL”!

2009 November 11

Filed in:

Nerd Am I – (Academics and Details)


A disturbing trend from some of the most brilliant people I know behooves a comment.  While I never correct grammar of a non-student, I think it is okay to correct the general problem in a public forum.

It is tempting to respond to a question of your state with “I am well, thank you.”  But unless we are saying that we are healthy, then we ought to say, “I am good.”

To be is a copulative (coupling) verb, that is, a linking verb, and not a verb of action.  It must link a noun to a noun or a noun to an adjective, but never to an adverb.  In this case, “to be” links the noun “I” to the adjective “good.”

“I am well” meaning “I am healthy” illustrates this.  Healthy and well, are both adjectives, and neither is an adverb.  So is “fine.”

I feel good; I seem good; I am good.

—of course, I am not inherently good.  But that is beside the point.