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Old 11-09-2012, 05:26 PM
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The meaning of "Pretty good"

I never really thought of this before, and have used this phrase often, but what does the phrase "pretty good" really mean?

My husband came home from a job kind of upset. Our neighbors hired him to tile a sinkroom, about 4' x 6'. Here in my area, most bedrooms have sink rooms, it is a little area with sink and cabinets off the bedroom and then attached to the bathroom. He is a perfectionist at what he does. He had to match the tiling that was done incorrect by somebody else years ago in the bathroom, so it took a lot of patience. The husband comes home first, looks at the job and tells my husband it is "Pretty Good." Shortly after his wife comes home and says the same thing.

My husband is kind of upset, he is taking it as an insult. I personally use that phrase quite often as a compliment, maybe it is all in the tone, but I have no idea what tone was used. They are very polite, people. They are also the type that always are having renovations to their house, their house is four times the size of what they originally built, and they just put tens of thousands into the backyard and it now looks like a hotel resort waterfalls and outdoor kitchen. Maybe a little piece of tiled floor in the daughter's bathroom is just not as exciting. I tried to tell him he is being oversensitive. We are also in the Midwest now, coming from the Boston area, maybe in Boston it has more of a negative meaning.

I'd like to know everybody else's thoughts on the phrase.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:49 PM
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i think it depends on the person's tone of voice. for the most part, i take pretty good as a satisfactory comment. Its not great but not bad either... just kind of "ok".
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:02 PM
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When I say "pretty good" it means I wasn't expecting it to turn out so well. Like if someone asked me about a restaurant I had low expectations for, I'd say, "actually it was pretty good!"

Edit: "pretty good" to me means it's good, if it wanted to say it was satisfactory, I'd say, "not bad".
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:15 PM
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Your husband sounds like he's being oversensitive...

Pretty good is a compliment. Means "nice job".
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:32 PM
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My husband is not a gusher - he would say pretty good, because it isn't in his nature to say: "Wow!" "Great Work" "What amazing workmanship!"

Me on the other hand...Yep your hub would be getting highfives! LOL!
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:35 PM
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Guess at the end of the day - he knows he used the kind of workmanship he would want used in his own home and he should rest easy at night knowing that....
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:13 PM
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I think "pretty good" is a positive comment. Obviously, the homeowners were not the gushy type.
If your DH did a job in Nova Scotia, he might be told it was "some nice".
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:29 PM
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I'm on your husband's side. "****** by faint praise" is not the same thing as an honest compliment. Yes, he knows how hard he worked, and can feel pride in the result, but he still wants an acknowledgement of that hard work and praise for the result, if, in fact, he did a good job.

I once quit a job over a job appraisal along those lines. It said I was 'satisfactory'. I knew I was a lot more than that, so I left.

Some people give compliments easily. Others don't. I've also had bosses who gave me evaluations that were so over the top effusive I just laughed, but I'll admit I prefer to feel like my efforts matter.
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vhuynh2 View Post
When I say "pretty good" it means I wasn't expecting it to turn out so well. Like if someone asked me about a restaurant I had low expectations for, I'd say, "actually it was pretty good!"

Edit: "pretty good" to me means it's good, if it wanted to say it was satisfactory, I'd say, "not bad".
I would agree with Molly's mommy, I use "pretty good" the same way. I did not have big expectations because of the potential problems with this particular job, thought it is going to be "good" but I was pleasantly surprised it was actually "pretty good". In this case your husband would be recommended to the others.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:19 AM
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Thank you everybody! Yes, I think he was being oversensitive.

He and I see the world in such different ways. I often use the words "pretty good" for my kids or even to my coworkers. I got kind of scared that maybe I offended somebody in the past.
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