Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Should you say, “I’m good” or “I’m well” when asked how you are in English?

Does it depend on where you are in the world? Definitely!

Get the key differences today plus one response that works no matter where you travel.

Are you good?

Aubrey asks Lindsay how she is.

Lindsay responds, “I’m good,” and asks Aubrey how she is.

Aubrey asks why Lindsay didn’t say “I’m well.”

She points out that “I’m good,” in this sense is incorrect grammar.

Lindsay says that’s a good question that they’ll be addressing in today’s podcast.

It can be tricky to answer this common question when meeting friends and colleagues.

Today’s question

This episode is inspired by a listener’s question.

Firstly thank for your podcast, I love it very much. I’m Italian with friends from US and UK
So in the US I learnt to say I’m good about my feelings and I’m well about my health. In the UK when I answer ‘I’m good’ they start to laugh …. telling me….. yes yes I know you are good! joking that when I say good I mean beautiful. That’s what I learnt.

Thank you !!


Good vs. Well in the U.S.

The All Ears English team did a similar episode focused on American English.

They talked the difference between the words ‘good’ and ‘well’ in the U.S.

You can check out AEE 1047: I’m Good Versus I’m Well.

Global English

Today, Lindsay and Aubrey will discuss ‘good’ versus ‘well’ in other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom.

Aubrey asked some of her friends what they say when someone asks them, “How are you?”

She also asked what they think when someone responds, “I’m good” to that question.

Are they horrified by this bad grammar when they hear an American say it?

Does it mean, “I’m beautiful” like this listener was told?

Today we share their answers.

#1: Claire (British)

According to Claire, no, English people don’t say “I’m good”.

They respond “Very well, thanks, how are you?”

Or “I’m fine, thank you” but it depends who is asking too.

If they say I’m good, it means they are well-behaved!

The British generally understand when Americans say that. They don’t think, “Dumb Americans.”

#2: Joe (British)

According to Joe, a British speaker wouldn’t mean beautiful when saying “I’m good”.

They may be joking and saying “Yeah I know you’re good!”

In this case, they would be teasing that you’re saying “I’m good at something” or “I’m well behaved.”

#3: Orlagh (Irish)

According to Orlagh, in Ireland, typically if asked “How are you?” they would say “I’m grand” or “I’m doing well”.

With more American influence coming into Ireland from social media, she hears “good, good, yeah, how’s it going yourself?’

“I’m good” would not be perceived as beautiful.

Another way of asking “How it’s going?” is “How’s she cuttin?”

#4: Ruth (Canadian)

Ruth shares that it depends on the situation.

She doesn’t hear or say, “I’m well.”

Instead, the response is usually “I’m alright”, “I’m blessed”, or “I’m great.”

Sometimes she hears “I’m good.”

She wouldn’t say “I’m well”; she points out that it sounds like you’re saying you recovered from an illness.

#5: Brenda (Greek)

Brenda says she hears and says, “I’m alright” or “I’m good.”

She wouldn’t say, “I’m well.”

That sounds too formal for daily conversations in her opinion.


The phrases “I’m great” or “I’m alright” are safe responses.

All English speakers would know what you mean.

“I’m alright” can mean you are doing okay or fine.

“I’m great” is a more uplifted mood and positive-sounding.

You can also observe what the locals are saying.

However, if you want a safe response so you don’t get misunderstood, you can use “I’m great,” “I’m alright”, or “I’m fine.”

All Ears English has so many episode that show the difference between English in the U.S. versus in the UK.

You can check out AEE 1738: American vs. British English – Don’t Get Snookered


Taking in the lessons and insights today, here is a quick roleplay from Aubrey and Lindsay.

The initial hello and checking in on someone is a great first step in establishing a good relationship.

In this scenario, Aubrey and Lindsay run into each other on the sidewalk

Aubrey: Hey Lindsay, how are you?
Lindsay: I’m fine, you?
Aubrey: Yeah, I’m great thanks!
Lindsay: Well it was good to see you! Enjoy your walk!
Aubrey: Yeah, you too! See you later!


Always remember, the goal is Connection not perfection!™

This is not something to stress about, but you could be misunderstood if you say “I’m good” outside of the U.S.

Take note of all the feedback from Aubrey’s friends that are in other English-speaking countries.

Also, the pro-tip to use “I’m alright” or “I’m great” is a good start to respond in a generally understood manner when asked how you are.

Don’t let the difference in response hinder you from starting great connections.

What is your own way of starting a conversation with a native English speaker?

Share your stories in the comments below.

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