He is very fine to work with.

From the Cambridge dictionary I get two (relevant) meanings:

  1. SATISFACTORY (adjective)
  2. EXCELLENT (adjective)

To me these two meanings seem very different. While satisfactory sounds somewhat negative in this context (i.e. working with someone), excellent sounds very positive.

Q: do the meanings depend on the context around the sentence? For example, if the text around this sentence is very positive, then the meaning probably is toward 'excellent'?

  • 2
    All meanings depend on context. Absent that, the adverb very changes the meaning of fine and militates against an interpretation of "satisfactory." – Robusto Jan 11 at 16:17
  • Fine can also mean detail oriented. I can see very fine being used to describe somebody who is precise in some conversational contexts. – Jason Bassford Jan 11 at 19:02
  • I would never say anything like this in American English. I would always say something like, " I like working with him" or "He is easy to work with". I would never use fine in a context like this. It sounds very strange to me. – Karlomanio Jan 11 at 19:10

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.