Ok, I've already searched this site. There are questions about this. I've read them and read the answers. But they don't really answer what I wonder. I'm asking about grammar.

Let's say the cashier at the counter says "How are you doing?". If I answer with only "Good.", I feel like it's so abrupt and rude. If I answer it with "I'm good, thank you.", I feel like it's not right, grammatically (I don't want the other to judge me as I'm a freak).

Because according to grammar, that question needs to be answered with an adverb; and "I'm good" is totally nothing relates to that. What is the general, proper, short reply in this situation, and can "good" really be used as an adverb instead of "well" in everyday informal speech?

  • You contradict yourself by requesting the proper and the informal reply. Well is proper, although good is a bit more common in everyday informal speech. @user3169's reply explains the use case but good is very common as a general response (basically slang). May 22, 2020 at 6:57
  • 1
    If its at work, and especially in a meeting with more than one other participant, many people keep it down to one word, and its not usually the word Well, because that has more than one meaning when starting a sentence, such as "well, im not doing so great".... Most common response's I have noticed are: "Good.", "Great.", "Fantastic.", and "Fine.". If its one-on-one you can add ", thanks" to the end (great, thanks) or ", and you?" (fine, and you?)
    – DaFi4
    Nov 25, 2020 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


You should consider these as set phrases, which have a slightly different meaning. The reply:

I'm well.

refers to your physical/mental well being, health, personal affairs, etc.

The reply:

I'm good.

means you are satisfied regarding the current situation. For example:

Do you need any more assistance?
Can I help you find something?
(reply) I'm good.


That would be common, but not proper. As noted in the comments, well should modify doing; I'm doing well (well is HOW I am doing). I say this, but most of my peers do not. Properly interpreted, "I'm doing good" would mean that good is WHAT you are doing; perhaps you are volunteering to help others (doing good).


Be careful, as I'm good very often is an informal (yet polite) way of saying no, thanks or not for me, thanks or not just now, maybe later.

To your point that a single adjective (fine, great, swell..) sounds a bit abrupt, you can add thanks. In the UK we often add how about yourself? or and yourself? or even just yourself?

If things are quiet and you are feeling expansive, you can of course wax lyrical and say I am doing very well, thank you very much, on this gorgeous day we seem to be having etc. etc. but don't try that when the other person is in a hurry.

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