I would like to know whether, if someone asks me "How are you?" and I reply "I'm nice, thank you", is the word 'nice' grammatically correct?

closed as general reference by Matt E. Эллен, Kristina Lopez, aedia λ, Hellion, Andrew Leach May 9 '13 at 22:01

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Yes, nice is an adjective, which is what is required grammatically. It's an unusual turn of phrase, though. – Andrew Leach May 9 '13 at 9:12
  • "Nice" is not the idiomatic response to the question, "How are you?". I am "fine", "good", "OK", "terrific", "a little under the weather", etc. are better responses because they speak to your health or state of mind. "Nice" is typically a word to describe someone's personality. Examples of usage of "nice": "He is nice." "What a nice man!" "That was a nice thing to do." – Kristina Lopez May 9 '13 at 13:45

Yes, the word nice is grammatically correct here, but grammatical correctness doesn't mean idiomatic English, good English, or acceptable English. Say that to a native speaker and you will be dismissed as arrogant and narcissistic (You don't get to judge whether you're nice or not; that's for everyone else to tell you) or as a non-native speaker who doesn't know survival English.

The standard response is I'm fine, thank you. And you?

  • 1
    An accepted colloquialism is 'I'm doing nicely, thank you.' The I'm may be omitted. However, this sense of nicely isn't reflected totally in the corresponding adjective nice. You can say 'That's a nice' (= well-executed and stylish) shot,' 'That's a good shot,' 'I'm good, thank you,' but not 'I'm nice, thank you' (without sounding ridiculous). – Edwin Ashworth May 9 '13 at 9:39
  • @EdwinAshworth If "I'm good, thank you." does not 'sound ridiculous,' "I'm nice, thank you" should be just as fine, I suppose. english.stackexchange.com/questions/605/… – Kris May 9 '13 at 11:09
  • 1
    "I'm good" (いいです) is idiomatic Japanese & idiomatic English for "No, thank you" or "I've had enough" (eg, as a response to "Another beer, Bob?"), & idiomatic English for "I'm fine" ("I'm doing well" or "I feel good" or "Things are going well for me"), but "I'm nice" isn't an acceptable or normal substitute for "I'm fine/good", specious suppositions to the contrary notwithstanding. – user21497 May 9 '13 at 11:22
  • Yes - 20 years ago, I would have bridled over the answer 'I'm good, thank you,' to my enquiry 'How are you?' Since the whole point was to be nice to the person, picking them up on style would not have been useful. Familiarity with the expression has now rendered it quite acceptable. 'I'm nice, thank you' would probably trigger a negative response, though. – Edwin Ashworth May 10 '13 at 12:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.