Fine is a 4-letter word

What a funny place we have reached where, at times, the word “fine” sounds like an insult. We have discussed this fact in my writers’ group recently. If we get a review of something we have written that states “It is fine,” we are crushed.

Now we use it as a joke answering “It’s fine” when asked a variety of questions.

fine

We have determined that sometimes “fine” is simply unacceptable. And it is definitely, at times, not a positive or complimentary response.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you ask your husband if chicken is okay for dinner. He answers, “It’s fine.” That is cool.

HOWEVER, if asked “How was the chicken tonight?” The answer “fine” is the opposite of cool.

“How are you doing today?” Fine = acceptable.
“Do you like my new hair color?” Fine = unacceptable.

“Want to go for a walk?” Fine = acceptable.
“How do you like my blog post?” Fine = unacceptable.

“How was your fast food cheeseburger?” Fine = acceptable.
“How was your steak?” Fine = unacceptable.

You get the idea.

When my son was 3-4 years old, if he didn’t feel well he did not say “My tummy hurts” or “My head hurts.” He would say “I’m not fine.” Good observation for a little guy.

Sometimes what is necessary is voice inflection. You can say “fine” in a way that people hear “awesome.” And it only takes a tiny bit more effort.

It also only takes a smidgen more effort to say “I love it” or “Great!” or “It touched me” or “Lovely.”

Let’s lose fine.

What’s your word that should be positive, but turns out to be negative?

Pat Meyers
Word Ponderer

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under words, Writing

4 responses to “Fine is a 4-letter word

  1. Erin

    Yep…that’s another one for me

    Like

  2. I don’t like okay. So you’re okay. What does that mean? You could be a whole lot better? You’re not great–why not? You’re okay because you’re one thread from falling apart? What????

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s