Our Word Nerd discussion last week was about the use of “I’m Good” instead of “No, thanks.” So today, I wanted to rant in favor of “No, thanks.”

I asked my breathtaking 17yo why she believes “I’m good” is acceptable. She explained it’s informal. For instance, she would say, “No, thanks,” to Mrs. Bradley if offered something she didn’t need. But if a friend offered to share some Skittles, she would say, “I’m good.”

I wanted to rant that informality shouldn’t mean impoliteness.

I came to the computer ready to rant.

But then a quick internet search pulled up a definition of the acronym NTIG. Apparently, it stands for “No thanks, I’m good” (rolling my eyes). The existence of this texting acronym bolsters my girl’s idea that “I’m good” is simply a casual expression.

I also found this definition of “slang”: “Slang refers to a type of language that’s too informal to use in certain situations. You can tell a word is slang when it becomes uncool to use after a year or so, like rad or far out.”

This further bolsters my daughter’s opinion that “I’m good” — and “My bad” — are merely informal, not impolite.

Let’s think this through the Word Nerd way: by going to the words themselves.

“I’m good” implies that you already have enough of whatever is being offered. It seems appropriate, say, after the third helping at Thanksgiving dinner. The phrase also puts the emphasis on yourself and your level of contentment/satiation.

Also backing up my opinion here is the fact that most uses of “I’m good” I found online included, “No, thanks.” (Like NTIG) That’s relieving, because I just don’t see “I’m good” as showing gratitude for the offer in the same way as “No, thanks.”

I wonder if parents’ teeth were set on edge when we (our society) started using “No, thanks” instead of “No, thank you.” Because “No, thank you” would put the emphasis on the person doing the offering. “No thanks” merely implies that same emphasis.

Regardless, the heart of the issue of these slang-politeness blog posts (here, here) is, well, the heart. You can use the proper words robotically or rudely. You can use the slang substitutes flippantly, without care.

Or you could use either in all sincerity to show gratitude and appreciation, apology, greeting … all that polite stuff. After all, those things come from a heart of love.

BUT: Words matter! Words mean things. This is the theme of my Word Nerd posts, and the source of my love of words.

SO, the battle for this week:

When does informality cross the line into disrespect? Does the formality of politeness equal insincerity?

Weigh in below!



By the way: This post made it seem like we’ve been bickering over this issue here at the Harris house. We haven’t. 🙂 We are respectful, but informal, people here; however, the generational differences are noteworthy.

Last thing: The final episode of my Flash Fiction Suspense Serial story (inspired by Rory’s Story Cubes) will appear on Friday. Tune in for a fiction break!