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What is the difference between fine and good? Please suggest the proper usage.

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Perhaps there is a specific usage that you are interested in? –  z7sg Ѫ Mar 30 '11 at 13:07
fine idea vs good idea –  Roman Yankovsky Mar 30 '11 at 13:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Something that is fine is better than something that is merely good:

fine 1. Of superior quality, skill, or appearance: a fine day; a fine writer.

good 1. Being positive or desirable in nature; not bad or poor: a good experience; good news from the hospital.

As you see, good can simply mean "not bad"; but fine means superior, excellent.

See definitions here and here.

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For example, when describing the condition of a (second-hand) book, fine is better than very good which is better than good. –  Gilles Mar 30 '11 at 21:37

Robusto's answer is correct when they are being used attributively, to describe something in particular.

But in idiomatic usage on their own, there is really nothing to choose between them:

"That's fine" means the same as "That's good" or "That's OK".

"Fine" also has a subsidiary meaning of "healthy, well", so "I feel fine" is appropriate when somebody has expressed a concern about your health. "I feel good" would not be idiomatic there, at least in the UK.

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Ironically "I feel good" has a stronger connotation, at least in my experience (US). "I feel great" > "I feel good" > "I feel fine" –  Davy8 Mar 30 '11 at 15:03
You hear "I am doing good" for instance here in the states all the time (where of course "doing well" or "doing fine" is more correct....) –  Joseph Weissman Mar 30 '11 at 17:42
I would take "fine" one step further and say it can actually be perceived as a negative response. For example: "Hows the food?" - "It's fine." That's not taken well, but to say "It's good." is a real complement. "That's fine" is also a common response from someone who is giving something up or on the short-end of a compromise: "You drive the kids all over the place and I'll watch TV, OK?" - "Fine." It can go on and on (at least in the US) –  Corey Coogan Mar 30 '11 at 21:13
@Roman: as an adjective preceding a noun, "fine" is rather rare (except in set expressions like "fine wine" and "fine arts"), so if it is used it is generally exceptional, and stronger than "good". As a predicate or adverb ("I'm fine", "I feel fine", "That's fine") it is no stronger than "good" and often weaker. –  Colin Fine Mar 31 '11 at 10:33
@Roman: yes, I would say "a fine idea" is better - stands out more - than "a good idea". –  Colin Fine Mar 31 '11 at 15:28

Fine is the same as good! There is no difference! So if your teacher says your essay is fine, you should have 100 percent right to get an A+ on it!

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There is some nuance of difference between them. Fine can be used to mean average in some contexts. If you suggest we do something and I say "Okay, fine," that doesn't necessarily mean I think it's a good idea; it just means I don't have any objections to it. –  Nicole May 12 at 17:02

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