Quite a few times now, a waiter or shop assistant has asked me:
Will that be fine?
I've noticed that I've only ever heard Indian English speakers use this turn of phrase.
To my (British) ear, it sounds unidiomatic: I would always ask
Will that be OK?
expecting the answer
Yes, that's fine.
I'm intrigued to know what's going on here. Am I right in my assumption, from my own experience, that this is common in Indian English but not British English or (I think) American English?
I've been trying to analyse it to work out why there would be a difference, and I'm wondering whether it's something to do with stereotypical British reserve. The British question/answer would go something like this:
- Q: Will that be OK? [Subtext: of course, I wouldn't dream of suggesting that my poor efforts could ever be positively fine: mere acceptability is all a worm such as I can hope for.]
- A: Yes, that's fine. [Subtext: I wouldn't want to be so rude as to confirm his suspicion that it's merely acceptable. I'd better make it clear that his efforts are unrelentingly fantastic.]
This seems a plausible enough reconstruction to explain why Brits like me are so unassuming, but it wouldn't really explain why Will that be fine? isn't also idiomatic in American English.
Is this prevalent only in Indian English? If so, can anyone explain why?