It is very common to be greeted with a question about being 'fine'. For example, "are you fine" today? How are you? Are you alright? Are you okay? These example questions all ask about being fine.

Many dictionaries would make 'fine' to mean satisfactory as with 'alright'. However 'fine' can also refer to a permanent characteristic as an adjective.

The clear distinction is to use 'fine' to mean being in either a temporary satisfactory state or a permanently good state. As 'to be' is a verb which truly always links the subject to complementary information it doesn't describe doing an action in a certain way. 'To be' sometimes seems to be referring to a permanent state as with an adjective being connected to the subject. For example, you are a 'fine' person.

So how often does 'alright', 'okay' and 'fine' refer to an 'alright', 'okay' and 'fine' person during greetings?

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    Could you clarify? Nobody assumes that a person is an "alright person" because that person said he was feeling "alright". Nov 30, 2021 at 21:23
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    To answer your question, OP, never. If someone says they are "doing alright" that in no way means that they are an "alright" person. Nov 30, 2021 at 21:47
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    Ok, I give up. I've answered your question. So has Ethan below. Nov 30, 2021 at 22:21
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    Nobody asks "Are you fine today?" It might be "How are you?" or "How's things?" or "Are you well?" and they usually don't want to know the answer, so you say "Great! You?" and so on. It's a greeting not an enquiry into someone's health. Nov 30, 2021 at 23:40
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    You are over-thinking the implications of the reply "I am fine". It never means "I am a fine or good person" unless they are terribly conceited. The whole exchange is just a quick little "Hello" exchange. And if the question is intended to express concern and some discussion, it should be inverted: "Are you unwell today?" but only if you know the person well. Nov 30, 2021 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


When someone asks

"are you fine" today? How are you? Are you alright? Are you okay?

they want information about your particular status that day. Perhaps you look tired, or you were recently ill.

Your answer (should you choose to respond) addresses that state. Neither the question nor the answer has anything to do with what kind of person you are.

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    I have never, to my knowledge, heard anyone ask "Are you fine?", but I have often replied to the greeting "How are you?" with "I'm fine, thanks", meaning "I'm perfectly well", not "I am a fine person"! Dec 1, 2021 at 9:22

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