Irritating English – 1

“How are you?”  –  “I’m well,” we used to reply. Now we are more likely to be told, “I’m good.”

When we were children we were sometimes good, when remembered to put away our toys or washed our hands before eating. When we were well, we were free of coughs and sneezes and other childhood ailments. Being well was a matter of fact – you were healthy and happy whatever your shortcomings.

Being good was more difficult, for you had to earn someone’s approval; someone had to believe that you were kind, honest, hard-working, loyal, competent or whatever.  Being good was a matter of judgement, not our own judgement, but someone else’s.

 

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