Today’s lesson revolves around one, solitary word. One, solitary four-letter word. This particular word has been used as both an adjective and an adverb, or even a noun, and sometimes it can stand alone as a statement or declaration. I am talking about the word “fine.”

As an adjective. Fine describes something small, petite, or thin. It can also describe something that is distinguished or upstanding or pleasant. This four-letter word can hold immense meaning for something. [eg: “Her hair always looks so flat; it’s too bad it’s so fine” or “It’s a fine line between cocky and confident” or “A fine piece of …” ]

As an adverb. As Denny pointed out on the last Grey’s Anatomy special, when most people us it as an adverb, they are anything but. To say “I’m fine” usually means you are, in fact, not fine. We use it to be polite to the person who has asked us. We also use it to help convince ourselves when we know otherwise. So why do we kid ourselves with this answer? Is it to keep the waters smooth? Because certainly it could mean everything is all right. It could mean that we are “great” or “good” or “content.” Very rarely, however, does this four-letter word take on its given definition (satisfactory or copecetic).

As a noun. Usually never a good thing, a fine is levied when a wrong has been committed. [eg: “After I got a speeding ticket, I went to the court to pay my fine.”]

Today’s lesson comes from the frustration of receiving an “I’m fine. Everything’s fine” response in direct derivation of the otherwise obvious. It is the usage of “fine” when we clearly aren’t that has sent me thinking for the last few days. But I can’t deny the multiple talents that this little four-letter word beholds.

So today I put forth the word “fine.” Please use it wisely. And try not to give false meaning to its substance.

One thought on “A Lesson in Language (or, One Four-Letter Word)

  1. Pingback: Money Matters (or, In a Different League) « Thursday Morning Meditations

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