This is an all English podcast, episode 14 46, don't be just fine when it comes to this country.
Tim, welcome to the All Ears English podcast downloaded more than 150 million times. Are you feeling stuck with your English? We'll show you how to become fearless and fluent by focusing on connection, not perfection, with your American hosts, Aubrey Carter, the Isles Whiz, and Lindsay McMahon, the English adventurer coming to you from Arizona and Colorado, USA.
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There are two different ways to use the word fine, and they mean something completely different today. Find out the two things you need to pay attention to to know the difference.
Hey, Lindsay, how are you? Hey, Aubrey, I'm doing awesome because I'm on the mic with you and it's always fun to be on the mic.
I know I have a funny question for you, OK?
I think about this the other day. And when someone asks how you are, do you always just say fine or are you honest now?
I avoid I'm fine, because actually now that I think about it, there was a documentary called I'm Fine, Thanks. And it was all about how how in our culture everyone is just OK. And I don't like that attitude. Right. I like to be more descriptive.
I didn't even ever think about this until I was traveling. And I would see that in other cultures, people often are more honest and they'll tell you if they're having a bad day.
You say how they are, you better really want to know because you're probably going to get a true answer, which is why in the States?
Well, to be honest, I think that people from other cultures might struggle with that. I mean, you guys can let us know our listener is right.
Is it hard to deal with that when American people are often just maybe don't want to reveal that? They don't want to be honest unless you're at a certain level of relationship with the person in front of you? In a way, it's convenient, right. Because we meet so many people during the day, we can't spill our guts to everyone. Right? True. But at the same time, there's something disingenuous about it.
Yeah, it's like I almost was like, why should I ask at all if you're just going to say, fine, I know you're going to say fine, it's just kind of wasted speech.
Yeah, it's very inhuman. Like there's a level of humanity and being honest. Right. But I am actually feeling just fine today. I mean, I'm feeling good. Better than just fine. Right. I'm feeling good because I love podcasting.
So, you know, I mean, really, it's kind of like, OK, man. Yeah, it's really not good. It's not excellent. It's I mean, it's not too talkative sometimes it is.
Right. And that's why we're here today. I'm excited to have you back on this second part of our series on continents. Right. So what does it continent? Yes.
We talked about these in episode fourteen forty. So if you missed that one, go back and hear it.
In the first one, we talked about the word off which a country can have two opposite meanings that spelled the same same word, but it can mean two totally opposite things. And so we're going to talk about fine, which is another one of these.
Oh, so confusing. Who decided that these would exist in the English language. I know, right? Oh, but you should definitely make sure you go on over and find that episode. Fourteen forty. All right. OK, so let's get into it. Aubrey, what are the two different ways of using.
Fine then what do we need to know.
So just as a quick overall. Right, we, there are two meanings. The first is acceptable.
Good enough just OK, like when someone says I'm fine, but it can also use to be used to mean the very best or most excellent of something. And you could accidentally give offense if you use this word incorrectly.
We don't want that to happen. So we're going to help you out with this today. I'm sure it does happen at times. We want to make sure it doesn't happen to you guys. That's the key.
And I want you guys to really pay attention today to Internation, how we are pronouncing these two different ways of using. Fine, because that's one clue that you could use out in the world of native English to know which form we're actually using.
Right, operatically. Right. You you can sometimes know the meaning through context, but also especially for this one, the intonation. So that's a good point. Listen, and we'll talk about the specifics of the intonation you need to use. And you guys make sure that you have downloaded our iOS app so that you can see the transcripts for this episode because it's going to really clarify things. And then you can also add the vocabulary.
Yes. Yeah, super helpful to be able to see, especially with this series Aubury, to be able to see these words written down as we pronounced them on the show.
Yes, that's all right. Let's cover the first one. The first three. All right.
So this one this first one is kind of, as we said, that documentary. I'm fine, thanks. I just average acceptable or good enough, right?
Obery Yep, exactly.
If you get a haircut, but you don't hate but you don't love, you can say my haircuts fine or food.
And someone asks, how's your meal? You could say it's fine, it was fine.
You don't hate it, but you don't love it. Yeah, exactly. Or for example, if I ask you, did you like the movie you saw in the theater last night?
It was yeah. I might say it was fine. I didn't love the ending. Yes.
It was just OK. Honestly, I would I'm I'm kind of really missing movie theaters.
I just want to say that as an aside, I know, right? My it was when we were up in Idaho this summer, my brother, he's an artist, an oil painter, and he has this got like an art studio that he's built.
That's gigantic. And one whole wall is blank and he put this special paint paint on it that you can project onto.
And it makes a very clear screen and the size of a movie theater screen. And he put in movie seats, theater seats, and it was so nice to be able to watch even if they weren't the newest.
Lisa's it was so nice to just be in and feel like you're in a movie theater, because I miss that a lot, too. I miss that a lot. That's so cool. I love that there is something special about seeing it on the big screen, you know what I mean?
And it's just something like all encompassing, like the sound and the how clear the screen is.
So I miss that. Can't wait to get back to movie theaters, but that's cool. That was your brother that did that, huh? Yeah. My my little brother who both my father and my brother are oil painters and yassa. When we go to Idaho, they both live up there. We're able to see them a lot and we were able to take it very seriously. Went probably four times a week to watch a movie in my brother's studio.
Oh, my gosh. Because there's a lot of great artists in your family. I wonder if this is something that carries on in the genes or something. Maybe so. It was definitely a male dominant gene because I'm very left brained languages are my thing that my brother really took after my dad. They're both extremely talented. I need to share one of their paintings or something on Instagram.
One of the also guys, check out our Instagram channel, by the way, to get all this good stuff. So cool. So cool. OK, so that is a good example of just fine.
Right. There's nothing to get you excited about that first meeting. Exactly.
But the second meeting is the total opposite. We'll use the word fine as like the best word we can use to describe something exceptionally delicious. For example, we'll say fine food.
Yeah. If something's well-made or beautiful, we'll say maybe fine jewelry or fine art.
Yeah. Kind of reminds me of like a high brow. Right. Is like expensive, usually expensive exclusive.
Yeah. I mean it's very highbrow jewelry, fine wine, fine food or there's the term fine art. What does that mean. Yeah, definitely.
So that's creative or visual arts that are appreciated for their creativity or their beauty.
So it's interesting.
Sometimes you may have had a conversation with an artist and they may not consider, you know, every type of aesthetics or every type of print that you might put on your wall as fine art, because it has to have a certain quality.
It has to, you know, be creative and very not just aesthetically pleasing, appeasing, but also talent has gone into this in time and thought and creativity to make it fine art.
I mean, it's the classic question like what is art? What is fine art? I mean, I don't think this would qualify as fine art, but it does qualify as art. I went to when I lived in New York.
I remember going to I guess it must have been the MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, and there was an exhibit of a pile of dirt with trash in it that was considered art.
I mean, it's a classic question over the centuries is what is art?
Why why was that there as opposed to like just behind the museum? I know. And it's like if it's there displayed and people are looking at it and thinking about it, does that make it art? Right. So it depends on who you talk to. This is an interesting conversation, but I know a lot of artists that would say, no, that is not art. That's not our first of my toddler can make it. It's not art.
Yeah, exactly. I love it. I love that. And then there's also, what else? The fine art of doing something or the art of doing something.
I've heard that, too. Right. Just by itself. What's that all about?
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Yeah, so just if you're taking more time and thought into anything you're doing, we would say that that's the fine art of doing something where you're not accidental about it, you're thoughtful and trying to do something meaningful. Yeah, it's part of it.
And I think a lot of people are missing this now, like working with your hands craftsmanship right at work here that should write fine craftsmanship or fine workmanship. When you're talking about the quality of something, if there's like hand carved woodwork, we would call that fine workmanship or fine craftsmanship.
And then as a bonus, you know, saying that something is handmade. Right. That usually implies that it's been subject to that fine workmanship. It's been made by hand with extreme care.
Exactly right. So it can be so confusing because that's the opposite of saying this is just fine.
But it's the same word. Maybe the key is when it's just set by itself. Right.
And you'll notice the fine comes before. Right. It comes before the noun. When we're talking about something being exceptionally delicious or well-made, you'll always say fine before the noun.
So if you hear it before fine wine, fine jewelry, then, you know, we mean something that is exceptionally good.
Yeah, that's a good point, Aubrey. So it's those two keys is where are you putting this word and what is the intonation that's being used? Right. Those are your clues here, guys, for today, for these two. Are there any other kind of words that our listeners might be able to use here today regarding containing?
Fine. Yeah, yeah. It's interesting because there are we do say like fine tune to fine. Tune your skills. If you're making small adjustments to something to achieve the best possible result, you'll say I'm fine tuning my language skills, for example, by listening to the English podcast.
Yeah, a lot of our listeners are in that place.
Right. So this implies that you're already at a certain level of mastery, right. You're trying to get better. It's not like you're beginning and you're learning a skill for the first time.
Right. And we also say to agree with someone will say, really? You're saying that's fine with me, but we drop that. So we shorten it and we just say fine with me.
And I say that all the time. When you want to do this, they're fine with me. Yes.
Yes. And then there's another one where we comment on someone's looks. Right. You know, someone's attractive. What would that work? You say he is so fine.
You find it is very good looking. Right. I wonder, though, if that phrase is a little dated now? I feel like I remember hearing it a lot in the 90s.
I'm not I don't hear my 14 year old daughter saying I probably still see it. Right.
We have to ask the teenagers if it's a common phrase. Now, they probably say a lot of other things that I would feel uncomfortable saying because then I'm like, I'm not 14.
I can't say that. Yes, exactly. So, guys, we're not quite sure if that one's outdated by now, but that was at one point a way to describe a good looking person. So fine.
Definitely. There's another one that might be a little outdated, but I still hear sometimes that you'll say fine and dandy. I mean, it's good, but it's often used, ah, sarcastically to mean terrible.
So it's kind of a continuum itself.
You say, well that's just fine and dandy. Yeah. You mean that's terrible.
Oh my God. So with Michelle, we've done a lot of episodes on sarcasms. You guys, if you want to know more about sarcasm, which is a huge topic, come back to the blog. All ears, English dotcom type in that search bar, sarcasm. There's a lot of good stuff on sarcasm.
And this is a good example, too, for sure. All right, let's do a role play. OK, let's do it. So where are we here, Aubrey, what's the scenario?
So I am attending the opening of an art gallery and you are, let's say, an oil painter showing your work. So your paintings are displayed there.
And and I'm going to come up and comment on your work.
OK, OK, so we're going to have a little misunderstanding here. Yes, I'm intentionally having a misunderstanding because it's funny just to show how.
Yeah. This could cause offence, right?
Yes. OK, let's go. You go.
All right. This work is fine. Oh, you disapprove? No, I like it, it's fine. Okay, I love fine art. Well, enjoy your evening.
It's also kind of it's also kind of funny that you would come up to me if you just think it's average that you would even come up to the artist at all.
Yes. My thought was like writing role play. I'm thinking about myself speaking French or Spanish, and I could totally see that, meaning that it's fine art. Right. So I want to say this work is fine because I'm thinking that that means it's fine art. And I'm really trying to say, no, I like it, it's fine.
But because of the way I'm saying it right, I'm not using fine before art.
My tone isn't isn't showing. My tone is more like to say it's OK.
Right. And you wouldn't say that to the artist.
Exactly. I could imagine some of our listeners may be there in New York. I know when I lived in New York, I used to go a lot to the Chelsea Art Galleries on Thursday night. Did you ever go to that, those openings?
Sometimes I would go to two small children and it was OK. OK, OK, fair enough.
Fair enough. But yeah, I mean, I could see some of our listeners, if they're in a city like New York, going to an art opening like that. And you would be talking to the artist. Right. So this totally could be a scenario our listeners might actually be in. Yes. I mean, they provide free wine, so why not?
Exactly right. And if you don't realize that Fine has these two opposite meanings, you very well could say something exactly like I didn't accidentally offend the artist. Oh, my gosh.
So bad. So bad. So do we need to go through this at all? Well, I think we definitely do like how it should have gone, like what I should have said. Right.
OK, I would have said, you know, this work is beautiful. I love fine art. Yeah. Maybe just entirely avoid the word fine in this context.
Right. Sure. If you're trying to say it's great. Yeah. You can only use it to call it fine art or fine work. But other than that you would need a different adjective. This work is fantastic. I absolutely love it.
Right. So any time you're using it again, just to reiterate, you're using it by itself, it's going to mean average. Again, as I said, you got to put some this is this is fine art, right? This is truly fine art.
That's great. But by itself, not so good.
I to say no, I like it. I'm trying to convince you. And then I say it's fine no matter what, no matter how the intonation goes. It sounds like I mean it's just mediocre. Yeah.
And then and then you say and then you're still trying to convince me that you love the work. But I've given up. Right. I'm about to walk away.
You're saying I love fine art. I like you chasing after me, trying to say I love your work. I'm trying to tell you that I've already offended you.
You're moving on, that I just leave and I say, enjoy your evening, guys.
So you're definitely going to want to see these in transcript format on the app. So go to all those English dotcoms bonuses to see that. And Obree, what should we leave our listeners with today? This is a big topic.
Good to us, right? If you use the word fine incorrectly, you could accidentally say the exact opposite of what you mean.
So just being aware that there are two contradicting meanings for this word will help you avoid this in the future. You know, don't avoid saying the word at all. Just know how to say it, how to use it correctly. Like you said, it's all about the word placement and intonation.
You have that down. Using this word correctly will make you sound very native and natural completely.
I love it. I can't wait for the next episode in this series. Obreht looking forward to having you back on the show soon. Yes. All right. I'll see you then. All right. Good stuff. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.
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