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After a discussion with a French native speaker, I am asking here:

Can the sentence "My day was correct" be used synonymously with "My day was decent" when answering to "How was your day?".

For context: The disagreement stems from the fact that the French "correct" can be translated both to the English "correct" and "decent", depending on the meaning.

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  • For what it's worth, you can check the different definitions of "correct" in a dictionary to see if one matches, and, less reliably, you can look up the applicable definition of "decent" in a dictionary that lists synonyms and see if "correct" is there (some dictionaries list per-definition synonyms).
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 16:21

3 Answers 3

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'Decent' meaning 'conforming with generally accepted standards of respectable or moral behaviour' is what the French 'correct' means. A decent person in this sense does not, for example, walk around naked, or urinate, in public.

'Decent' meaning 'acceptable, good, pleasant', etc is not equivalent to the French 'correct', so it would not be idiomatic or normal English to say 'I had a correct day' when you mean e.g. you had a pleasant lunch, the sun shone, you sold lots of shoes in your shop, etc. You had a decent day. Also 'decent' used in this way is slightly informal.

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    If your day was only 'decent' it wasn't as good as a 'nice, enjoyable, pleasant' day. A native speaker might say "My day was OK". Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 9:48
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    @KateBunting - maybe I'm using, without realising, British understatement. I might call a day in which I married the heiress to a brewery and won the lottery a decent day. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 10:00
  • @MichaelHarvey, I always thought of decent as the middle point on the good-to-bad scale. If you told me that was a decent day, I would think the brewery failing and the tax bill for the lotto came before the winnings.
    – coteyr
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 14:13
  • @coteyr - if the brewery failed, I'd help to dispose of the remaining stock (I won't say 'liquidate'), and we don't pay tax on lotto wins in the UK. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 14:25
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    @MichaelHarvey I'd call that a sarcastic use of the word, you're deliberately downplaying how great it was.
    – Barmar
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 16:08
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If someone says their day was decent in Irish English, it means it was not bad. We cannot say, "my day was correct."

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    It isn't true to say we cannot. Simply that we do not.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 18:07
  • @Chenmunka - in (fairly) informal speech, 'cannot say' can be interpreted to mean 'cannot say and be considered to be speaking normal English'. For example You cannot say 'three apples is on the table' or You cannot say 'He told I to go away', or You cannot say 'Me am hungry'. Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 13:18
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No, the sentence "My day was correct." would sound quite strange to a native English speaker's ears.

However, "My day was alright." would be a perfectly normal/idiomatic response.*

* (In American English at least.)

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