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I'm still not sure the meaning of "I'm in good shape." My understanding is that I'm well physically. Can I use this sentence, talking about someone older? The sentence is like, "She is over 85 now, but she is still in good shape." What I mean is that she is very healthy and can do everything herself without any support.

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You're correct - you can use it to describe an older person. The sentence that you have is one that a native English speaker would use.

"In good shape" is kind of relative to the age of the person you are talking about. When you say 'My girlfriend is in good shape" it usually means physically fit, but if you said "my grandmother is in good shape" it's more that she is healthy for her age.

  • I see, then this sentence means two things, be physically fit and be healthy depending on their age. Then if someone aged 40 plus say, I"m in good shape. meaning I'm healthy, does it still sound all right? – tennis girl Jun 13 '13 at 12:53
  • That does make sense! It's all based on context and relative to what you define as healthy for the age someone is at! – Meeka Jun 13 '13 at 12:54
  • Actually, the sentence can mean MORE than two things. The two you mention may be the first that spring to mind when I hear the sentence absent any other context. But consider: [at a dinner table] "Would you like some seconds?" Answer: "No, thanks. I'm in good shape." (That can be an informal way of saying "I'm satisfied; I don't want anything else to eat.") Or: [in triage] "Which patient do you want in the O.R. first?" Answer: "The one on the left; the one on the right is in good shape" (meaning, "isn't facing any life-threatening injuries"). The phrase is quite flexible and context dependent. – J.R. Jun 13 '13 at 19:06
  • @J.R. I didn't realize this phrase is so flexible. Thank you for the comment. – tennis girl Jun 13 '13 at 23:17
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    The diner might be just as likely to give a shortened version (such as, "No thanks; I'm good."). Still, NOAD lists this as one of the definitions of shape: the particular condition or state of someone or something : he was in no shape to drive | the building was in poor shape. That means good shape could conceivably be applied in a myriad of contexts. – J.R. Jun 14 '13 at 9:20

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