If anyone has ever scolded you for responding “I’m good” to “how are you?” — they’re wrong.
The myth — that you should really say “I’m well” — relies on the idea that modifying a verb requires an adverb. The verb “am,” however, involves special circumstances that make “I’m good” a perfectly acceptable answer.
It’s true that adverbs, not adjectives, are used to modify most verbs. For example, “We danced well,” not “We danced good.” Adjectives are only used to describe nouns, as in “We performed a good dance.”
But different rules govern the verb “to be,” of which “am” is a form. This verb connects the second part of the sentence, called the predicate, back to the first, the subject.
The circumstances then require either an adjective or noun in the predicate, instead of an adverb. For example, we say “I’m sleepy” or “I’m hungry” — not “I’m sleepily” or “I’m hungrily.”
Therefore, “I’m good,” is a proper response.
“I’m well” is also allowed but not for the reasons many think. That response only works if “well” takes on its adjectival form, meaning “in good health” or “good or satisfactory.”
Now, if someone asks “How are you doing?” “I’m doing well” is the correct response. “Doing” — a form of “to do” — becomes the main verb, and action verbs require adverbs.
Bottom line: You are good (and sometimes well). But you do well. Let the revolution commence.
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