Some things we say are weird

I came into the office this morning, and, as we do in our society, I greeted my co-workers with a “morning,” as I’m sure was being said all over our region around the same time.

“I thought you don’t say ‘good morning,’” said a co-worker. Apparently we had had the discussion previously about how saying “good morning,” doesn’t really make sense to me, because it’s probably not, actually, a good morning – at least it isn’t by the point you usually say it.

So I again explained, as I had before, that I technically only said “morning,” and left out the “good,” which made it a simple statement of fact. It is technically morning. True thing.

Which started that discussion again.

Maybe if you said “good morning” at noon, in recognition that the morning was, in fact, pretty good, it would make sense, but not when you first get to the office.

After all, you have no idea, before the morning actually happens, whether it is going to be “good” in any sense of the word. Maybe it will be terrible.

Heck, maybe it already is. Maybe the person you are saying it to woke up this morning to bad news.

Is it a question? Are we asking if the person is having a good morning so far? We don’t add an upward inflection, generally, which would imply that we’re looking for an answer, so I would guess not. Then we thought, “Maybe you’re saying you hope the person has a good morning.”

If that’s the case, shouldn’t we just say that? Like, is it really a huge hassle to say, “have a good day,” if that’s what we actually mean?

Anyway, it got me thinking about other greetings and phrases that don’t really make sense.

“Goodbye.”

What is that? Seriously, what does that mean?

I looked it up. Apparently “Goodbye” has been in use since the 16th century and is a contraction for “God be with ye.”

Okay, so that one makes a bit of sense now, but I know that there are a ton of people who say that when they totally don’t mean it. I know atheists, for example, aren’t wishing for an entity that they don’t believe exists to be with someone in their absence after they leave the room.

“You’re welcome,” is another one I don’t really get.

We teach our kids to say “thank you” when someone does something for them, and to say “you’re welcome” when someone says “thank you” to them, but do we know why we’re teaching them to say that?

“You’re welcome” is short for “you are welcome to my help,” but is that what we mean when we say it?

When we say “you’re welcome” after someone says “thank you,” we imply that the person is welcome to continue to ask for favours, but maybe they’re not. Maybe we should sometimes say, “that’s the last one,” if that’s how we feel. But that would be rude, even if it’s what we want to say. So we just say “you’re welcome,” and hope the other person doesn’t say, “really? Okay, how about now you….”

Or what if your boss is thanking you for doing something that’s actually just part of your job? We still say, “you’re welcome,” because it’s polite, when what we mean is, “I did it because you’re paying me.”

I have less of a problem with “you’re welcome,” because I think we SHOULD be telling people they are welcome to our help. The world would be a better place if people actually meant that when they said it. The same can not be said for “good morning,” though.

Good morning, in my opinion, is still nonsense.

You’re welcome.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Two ATVers dead after trying to cross creek south of Campbell River

Search involved search and rescue, the coast guard and 442 Squadron from CFB Comox

Rising water levels prompt BC Hydro to increase water discharge down the Campbell River

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake water level has steadily increased over the… Continue reading

Firefighters on the scene at Masters Road residence

Firefighters were called to a residence fire on Masters Road shortly before… Continue reading

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Tsunami warning prompts evacuations in Port Alberni

Alaska earthquake prompted warning for coastal BC

Most Read