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As it is clear from the question title, What does "I'm game" mean and what's its correct usage?

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3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I'm game means that I am up for the challenge, but arguably more commonly, I agree...

Q: Fancy going for a drink?

A: Sure, I'm game...

or

Q: I was thinking of going shopping. Do you want to come?

A: Yes, I'm game...

As for correct usage, as with most idioms, use it as you will... there is no correct usage as such.

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"As for correct usage, as with most idioms, use it as you will... there is no correct usage as such." What does this mean? There is certainly an appropriate time and manner to use idioms, and an inappropriate one. –  Kosmonaut Dec 8 '10 at 14:44
    
That it is situation dependent and people are creative with their use of language? –  Johan Dec 8 '10 at 15:23
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@Kosmonaut: Idioms, by definition, have no 'rules'. They convey a figurative meaning which is different to the literal meaning, and they are accepted through common use. Most people understand how 'I am game' is commonly used and intended, but there is nothing to stop someone extending or even completely re-inventing its use. So for idioms there is common usage rather than correct usage. –  CJM Dec 9 '10 at 9:54
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@CJM: "Idioms, by definition, have no 'rules'." Yes they do, but they can depend on the idiom you are using. Saying "there is no correct usage" implies that you can use "I'm game" however you want. But, in fact, you can't use it to mean "that's a good point", for example. You can't say "I'm game" if you are talking about someone else, you have to say "he's game" or "she's game". So, clearly, there are rules. –  Kosmonaut Dec 9 '10 at 14:06
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@CJM, that logic doesn't make any sense. By that standard, nothing is English is correct, but only "common". As a descriptivist, I actually believe that correctness is (in an ultimate sense, not case-by-case) defined by usage -- but that doesn't mean idioms don't have a correct or standard usage, or that they have no rules -- it's just that these rules are dictated by common understanding (just like everything else in English). What makes idioms idiomatic is not that they don't have rules, but they they form semantic units not necessarily decomposable using standard grammar rules. –  Ben Lee May 7 '12 at 16:35
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I'm afraid to go down the path of explaining correct usage of an idiom, so I will just tell you how I use it! I think of it as another way of saying, "That sounds good to me." Another phrase people often use is, "I'm down," and I would say that these two can be used interchangeably. Here is an example:

Q: Do you want to go see a movie tonight?
Possible replies all meaning the same thing:
A: Sure, I'm game.
A: Sure, I'm down.
A: Sure, that sounds good to me.

That last one is a mouthful, so you can see the appeal of the first two!

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"I'm game" could mean "I'm very smelly."

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Actually, wouldn't that need to be "I'm gamey" to mean smelly? –  Kristina Lopez Feb 25 '13 at 18:36
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protected by Jasper Loy Apr 17 '12 at 19:32

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