1.A He is a good teacher.

1.B He is a fine teacher.

1.C He is a nice teacher.

2.A It's a pair of good shoes.

2.B It's a pair of fine shoes.

2.C It's a pair of nice shoes.

I'm wondering which word is strongest in tone when these words are applied to a person or a thing.

What emphasis does each of them have?

  • Good pair of shoes, fine pair of shoes, nice pair of shoes.
    – user230
    Jul 1, 2014 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


Fine is the strongest of the all. It roughly mean high quality, or exemplary.

Nice and Good are essentially the same thing when describing objects.

A ) It is a good shoe B ) It is a nice shoe

Since shoes are inanimate objects and are incapable of having a conscience, nice means good ... It carries a bit more weight to it than good.. It has a stronger meaning of good.

For instance, you wouldn't say

Good shoes!

you would say

Nice shoes!

When describing people, they do not mean the same thing

A ) He is a good teacher B ) He is a nice teacher

A describes a teacher as being not bad. The teacher does his job well.

B describes a teacher as being sympathetic, empathetic, ... nice. The teacher is not mean, rude, nor violent. The teacher is pleasant.


'well' is the only one of the four words that can be used with a doing action. "I can do it well".

'nice' is either used to describe an object or subject, or a person's character. "That's nice", "You're a nice person".

'Good' is very flexible, except with doing things. "I can speak well" NOT "I can speak good".

'fine' is more difficult. It can be a state "I am fine" or used for objects or subjects "That is a fine wine" or "I can do that, it's fine". However, be careful, if someone asks "how are you" and you only say "fine." this can be a bit too short and you may appear to be upset!

  • 1
    I didn't even mention 'well'.
    – Kinzle B
    Jun 12, 2014 at 7:34

"Good" has connotations of "competent", "useful", or the opposite of "evil". For example, a "good teacher" is competent; a "good man" can be trusted to "do the right thing".

"Fine" has connotations of "small" or "precisely made". For example, a "fine mesh" only lets through very small particles. "Fine jewelry" and "fine watches" are expensive, because of the precious materials and careful labor that go into making them. Neither of these connotations is applicable to teachers, so a "fine teacher" is better than okay, but might not be a "great teacher".

"Nice" has connotations of "exact" or "pleasant". For example, a "nice teacher" is likely to smile and make you feel good about yourself. A "nice answer" might be exactly right, without any wasted words.

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