Every morning at the daily standup, our manager would ask everyone this question. Everyone would reply "I'm fine.", "I'm good." ...

Can I reply something difference?

For example, today, I got a cough. Can I say, "not very good, I got a cough."

  • It depends on what you mean by daily standup. But more importantly what the question actually is. I doubt it's literally How about you today? because that doesn't make sense. I'm assuming it's really How are you feeling today? If so, there are hundreds of ways you could respond. So, you need to be more specific. Your example response is fine. So to would be many others. If you're asking if it's appropriate to reply about feeling ill, that's not really a question about English but about social etiquette. – Jason Bassford Dec 21 '18 at 1:19
  • "How about you today?" is a follow up question, something must have been asked before this question to establish the subject. He might have said "I'm feeling fine today. How about you?" – Peter Dec 21 '18 at 7:04
  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a question of ettiquette that is particular to one particular company. It can't be answered in the context of learning English. – James K Dec 21 '18 at 7:59
  • @JamesK, It's been viewed 1k times. So it seems a popular question. – Zhang Sep 4 '19 at 1:48

The general expectation is that you answer positively, even if that is not strictly true. The question you are asked isn't really "how are you today" but a meaning more along the lines of "will we be having polite social conversation today" so by answering outside the custom you are really saying "no I feel like breaking norms today"

However you can circumvent this to communicate something else by just stating a fact and then adding a positive note.

"yeah, bit of a cough but its alright"

"leg got bitten off by a tiger, but hey, I'm here"

It is also generally accepted to complain about certain subjects but these vary by location and culture. Generally the weather and trafic are alright to be negative about but even then, try to end positevely. And don't say this every day

Train was late again so a bit hurried

Got rained on but otherwise fine yes

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