10

I need to know how the two phrases:

  • a. I'm OK with it.
  • b. It's OK with me.

differ in meaning.

Example:

1: Do you like this color?
2: I have no problem with this color. Yea, actually, ...

  • a. I'm OK with it.
  • b. It's OK with me.

I think aside from a probable geographical preference over each case, when you want to imply "I have no issue with it", the difference between the two is so subtle that one can consider them quite interchangeable. This similar question acknowledges my take.

However, this is what strikes me and I need a native confirmation on my take.

Please let me know about it.

14
  • 5
    In British English "it's OK by me" would be more idiomatic than "it's OK with me," at least when "it" is something abstract like a color. "It's OK with me" has a different meaning if "it" is a living creature, e.g. a pet or a wild animal - it refers to how "it" is feeling or behaving, not to how I feel.
    – alephzero
    Aug 30 at 14:05
  • 5
    @RichMoss you are categorically incorrect, because I speak American English and I would happily say (of a color choice, for example, or a suggested plan) "It's okay with me."
    – randomhead
    Aug 30 at 19:24
  • 2
    @randomhead Ditto. Native English speaker here and "It's ok with me" is perfectly fine. Maybe it is regional, I don't know, and maybe the phrase "dog's hackles were up" is also regional because that's something I would never, ever think to say :). I guess there are just so many ways to say the same thing in English that we get stuck in our ways and other variants start to sound weird.
    – Thierry
    Aug 30 at 22:49
  • 3
    @A-friend. My British dialect ? Like, no way, eh? :) But nevermind my own idiolect: Google N-gram viewer on "OK * me" for British English shows "with" balanced with "for" up to about 2010, after which "with" surges then, in 2014, falls drastically, where "for" leapfrogs it. In US usage, "with" has had a clear dominance forever, though still with an odd drop beginning 2012. On reflection, I would probably use "OK with me" for something my agreement is needed on, and "OK for me" for something being offered to me.
    – CCTO
    Aug 31 at 14:07
  • 3
    "It and I are OK with each other." :)
    – chepner
    Aug 31 at 15:59
6

For me, the difference is subtle enough that it probably won't matter in most cases.

I will say that there is a difference, if used in spoken language, depending on where the emphasis is placed. If the speaker puts any emphasis on themself ("it's okay with me") then they are seeking to draw attention to the fact that their opinion may differ from that of other people. But even then, there's not necessarily any difference between the two ("I'm okay with it..." says the same thing).

30

Very little difference.

Perhaps "It's okay with me." would be how you respond if you were being asked for your approval. "I'm okay with it." is how you would respond if you were being asked your opinion.

But I'm not sure that you could really detect an actual difference in usage.

1
  • 5
    IMO, "It's okay with me" with any spoken emphasis on "me" might be more common where other people are involved in the situation and carry and might implicitly mean or explicitly be followed by "It's okay with me, but you should check with the others." or "It's okay with me, but my say is insufficient." like a child asking a parent for permission to do something and being answered with "Well, it's okay with me, but go ask your mother." Aug 30 at 20:11
21

Maybe I am in the geographical preference category, but in my usage the two have slightly different, but very specific meanings.

For me, answering the question "Do you like this color?" with "I'm OK with it", very clearly means "I would prefer you to choose a different color, but if you really like it that much, or you have different considerations for choosing this color, then I will not veto your decision of the color".

On the other hand, answering the question "Do you like this color?" with "It's OK with me", very clearly means "I don't care much about what color you choose, unless, understandably, it's absolutely hideous, and this is not one of those"

In other words:

I'm OK with it = It doesn't meet my standards, but I can make an exception

It's OK with me = It meets my standards, but my standards are low on this

9
  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to the ELL. Your answer could be improved by providing references. See tour.
    – fev
    Aug 30 at 12:19
  • 2
    @fev I am confused about your comment. Is this a general suggestion that references are always better? I couldn't identify any point related to references in the tour you prompted me to see. Did I miss it?
    – Andrei
    Aug 30 at 12:36
  • 2
    @fev Thanks for the new link, good read. Fair assumption, that's what I did as well, and I still couldn't find anything about references, because the second link you posted is not referenced in the tour. I don't want to distract the reader further from the answer though, so I will mention that for now I will not add any further references, as the knowledge is entirely based on my own usage, as it's mentioned in the answer.
    – Andrei
    Aug 30 at 13:01
  • 7
    I know I don’t count as a reference, but I definitely interpret the phrases the way @Andrei described. Aug 30 at 14:02
  • 2
    "I'm OK with it" and It's OK with me" (or "by me") are vague statements. "OK" could refer to the color, my attitude, your question, the idea of painting. It could mean "just fine" or "who cares" or "just stop asking." There is no way to attach precise meaning. Funadamentally, there is no difference between "OK with me" and "OK with it." Both are just OK.
    – user8356
    Aug 31 at 14:50
2

The words "it" and "that" are often used interchangeably in the English language, and, for whatever reason, the collective subconscious deems an object labeled by speech with "it" as more likely to potentially be animate than objects labeled with "that".

For example... "That's OK with me." and "I'm OK with that." are analogous. In English, we do not refer to things that are likely to make their own choices (or begin making their own choices) with "that". It feels very distant, if that makes sense.

Diving deeper: For the sentence "It's OK with me." to be completely analogous to "I'm OK with it.", in terms of meaning, the "it" in the sentence has to be non-living, or considered unable to make it's own choices. Otherwise, the first sentence "It's OK with me." can be viewed as "it", "that", or "they/he/she" are OK with me in the sense that you are not making the decision to be OK. The sentence "I'm OK with it." makes it very hard to confuse if you are being OK or if "it" is being OK.

Consider the reverse, as well. "It's OK /by/ me." and "I'm OK /by/ it."

1

They're for all intents and purposes identical

But if you like the color, you should just say "yes" or "I do" or "I like it"

If somebody says "I don't have a problem with it" or "it's okay" it sounds like it wouldn't have been their first choice and they're just trying to be polite.

1

I agree with those who say that the two expressions are essentially synonymous. I think the main difference is actually just this: "I'm OK with it" is newer. See, for instance, Google ngrams. (I wouldn't trust the sharp recent dropoff in "It's OK with me" - Google ngrams gets unreliable after about 2008.) But I don't know if that says anything about which expression you should use.

-2

"It's OK with me" is the correct answer.

"I'm OK with it" sounds accepting, but unenthusiastic, very much like "I have no problem with it". On the other hand, "It's OK with me" sounds somewhat positive.

So in this context, after already having said, "I have no problem with this color" and then introducing a contrast with with "Yea, actually...", you have to say something that contrasts with the first statement. "I'm OK with it" would be a mistake since it doesn't contrast. "It's OK with me" works because although there's only a subtle contrast between the two, it's significant enough to count.

5
  • I won't downvote but I agree with the downvoter. Both constructions are equally usable. Furthermore your second paragraph seems to have an error; you've described the same sentence twice with opposite descriptions. Aug 30 at 11:57
  • I'm confused as to how this opinion of usage is less correct than Andrei's opinion of usage?(other answer) For me both phrases are entirely equivalent - so why is one person's background/opinion with the two phrases more correct than another's?
    – TCooper
    Aug 30 at 16:53
  • 1
    @RossPresser thanks for the catch
    – gotube
    Aug 31 at 1:56
  • 1
    @TCooper My answer had a fatal error in it that Ross Presser caught, which is perhaps why some people downvoted. Beyond that, answers carry "vote momentum", so one with lots of upvotes will attract more upvotes than it would normally receive, and vice-versa. It's one of the trade-offs of the voting mechanics on this site
    – gotube
    Aug 31 at 2:00
  • If you'd delete everything but the second paragraph, I'd upvote this (except for it being only a minor variation on @andrei's answer).
    – Law29
    Sep 6 at 12:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.