Fighting Evil Grammar Errors

Unlike my students, Michael Michael enjoys discussing grammar, which makes me a happy camper. A couple of weeks ago, he wanted to know my opinion on the good/well debate. The truth is, I often mess it up myself, but I almost always catch it, and I think as long as you correct it shortly afterwards, you should still get intelligence credit. In fact, that should be the new five second rule - forget eating dirty food.

Specifically, Michael Michael wanted to complain about people replying to "How are you?" with "I'm good." Technically, "I'm good" is correct, because the word "am" (as contained in the contraction I'm) is a linking verb, so it should be followed by an adjective. After an action verb, however, one should utilize an adverb. We use the word "well," as an adverb, hence, "I'm doing well." That's the distinction. The debate lasted for a laughter-packed two hours and wasn't even settled until the topic was brought up again the next day. After many hours, I finally was able to simplify my argument to demonstrating that adjectives follow am, such as "I am tired" or "I am joyful," while adverbs follow action verbs like "I work tiredly" or "I sing joyfully." Suddenly, my point makes sense, it just took a full day for me to find a way to articulate it, which bodes really well for me as a teacher. Yeah, I stutter a lot on the job. I'm not good at it/I don't do well at it.

Evidently, Michael Michael is most concerned with the word "good" having too many meanings. If people are to say "I'm good," we can't be sure whether someone is feeling happy or actually doing good for human kind. For example, if you are trying to determine whether the individual before you is Superman or Bizarro Superman, and he said "I'm good," how would we know whether it is Bizarro Superman feeling gleeful for pulling off an impostor act or Superman insisting his righteousness. Indeed, this is a scenario I had not considered.

Fear not, however. We've hammered out a solution. From now on, in any conversation where someone informs you that ey are "good," you should always ask the follow up question, "Are you doing well or are you fighting evil?"

"How are you?"
"I'm good"
"Are you doing well or are you fighting evil?"

Answers may vary. In certain cases, someone might even say "both" if they are giddily combating zombies, for example. Don't get it twisted.

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